Mercedes-Benz has a prominent role in "The Handmaid's Tale," the dystopian TV show about life under a totalitarian regime that has overthrown the United States government. But it's hardly a flattering one.
In this adaptation of the Margaret Atwood novel — which wrapped up its second season on Hulu in July — the Republic of Gilead's sadistic leaders are ferried around in unmistakable G-class SUVs and S-class sedans. Dissidents are carted off in Sprinter vans. While other vehicles make cameos, no other brand gets so much exposure.
Sometimes, of course, you want your brand to be associated with fictional bad guys, as Jaguar did with its celebrated British Villains campaign. It can help cast the brand as anti-establishment, irreverent.
But serving as the tools of an oppressive regime is a pretty dark place.