Corporate News

Mercedes CLA and Kate Upton Take Center Stage in Super Bowl XLVII Ad

Words John Clark | January 14, 2013
The Mercedes-Benz Super Bowl ad is a tongue-in-cheek depiction of how far a person may go to get their heart’s desire
Words John Clark January 14, 2013

UPDATE:  By popular request, CLICK HERE for a complete photo gallery featuring Kate Upton as seen in GQ, Esquire and more.  Enjoy!

I love a good Super Bowl ad, and last year’s VW Star Wars commercial easily took the top spot in the auto category during the game. This year, in an attempt to spread the word on their new CLA model, Mercedes-Benz will also be airing a Super Bowl ad, along with some help from supermodel Kate Upton. Created by ad agency Merkley + Partners, Upton will be sharing the 60-second spot with singer Usher. Filming already took place in and around New Orleans, where the city’s Mercedes-Benz Superdome will play host to Super Bowl XLVII. Previous press release have stated the ad to be “a tongue-in-cheek depiction of how far a person might — or might not — go to get their heart’s desire,” (whatever that means…) executives from Mercedes-Benz USA stressed that it will be classy and not like Upton’s steamy appearance for Carl’s Jr., see below, which was banned from last year’s Super Bowl. You can catch Super Bowl 47 on February 3, 2013.

What Adage has to say:

Mercedes-Benz has long been considered by Americans as a top-of-the-market items that only a select few could purchase. Mercedes hopes to extend its appeal to a wider set of consumers when it advertises at Super Bowl XLVII.

After joining the Super Bowl’s ad ranks in 2011 and sitting out in 2012, Mercedes is poised to redefine its appeal to the game’s massive TV audience, which last year included approximately 111.3 million U.S. viewers, according to Nielsen. The car marketer will use the Super Bowl to introduce its CLA, a “highly stylized four-door coupe” with what might be a surprising price, said Steve Cannon, president-CEO of Mercedes-Benz USA, in an interview with Advertising Age.

“We have something big to say and we think this is a great vehicle to reach out to that mass affluent audience,” he said. “We hope to use the Super Bowl to kind of open up the Mercedes-Benz brand to a wider audience. There are a lot of people out there who just automatically put Mercedes-Benz in an out-of-reach category. This is a great opportunity to use this new product coming to market in 2013 as that ‘Wow, I didn’t realize that about Mercedes-Benz.’ That’s the kind of wake-up call opportunity — with a mass audience — that we’re going, we hope, to use the Super Bowl to communicate.”

“For our C-Class, the median age of the consumer is around 50,” he said. “We think we’re going to get 30-something and 40-somethings in this car.”

In its last Super Bowl appearance, Mercedes ran a 60-second ad in the fourth quarter that depicted past and present car models escaping garages, showrooms and driveways to welcome a new lineup of autos. Entrepreneur Sean Combs, also known as Diddy, had a featured role. The automaker intends to run its 2013 ad in the fourth quarter as well, according to a spokeswoman for the company. Already, news reports suggest model Kate Upton and singer Usher will be featured in the new effort.

The ads are being crafted with Mercedes’ longtime agency, Merkley + Partners, owned by Omnicom Group.

“There’s more to come,” said Mr. Cannon, declining to tip his creative hand. “Celebrity plays with the young audience, and we are stepping up our game. If you want to step on that stage, you’d better be prepared to go big. Mercedes-Benz is a brand that has a very high celebrity quotient anyway. It’s our natural audience. We’re going to have some fun with it in the spot itself, use these high-profile kind of celebrities in connection with this new vehicle.”

The company will have to work hard to stand out. For the past two years, the Super Bowl has more or less become a parking lot of ads from sundry automakers. Already, Volkswagen, Hyundai and Kia are among the sponsors lined up for the next event. Volkswagen has proven quite adept at generating buzz with prereleases of Super Bowl content. And many observers are wondering if Chrysler will join the event again — and if so, how it might top its 2012 post-halftime spot featuring Clint Eastwood.

Of course, Mercedes has a weapon in its marketing arsenal that others do not: its name on the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, where the 2013 Super Bowl will unfold.

The automaker has reached out since 2005 to New Orleans, ravaged by Hurricane Katrina, Mr. Cannon said. Mercedes has planted trees and taken part in several charitable programs. “We are a member of that community — more than just slapping our logo on a very large stadium — and we are going to leverage that,” he said. Some of the commercial work for the company’s Super Bowl ad spot is taking place in New Orleans, where it can generate economic activity, he said.

As with anything Super Bowl-related, the stakes are high. Mercedes will have to balance the introduction of the CLA while maintaining its status as an aspirational brand. And Mr. Cannon will be watching the results of the campaign as CEO of U.S. operations, not as the division’s chief marketing officer — the title he held until the start of this year,when he was elevated to the top post.

“This is not just any Super Bowl,” he said. “Anybody can stand up and spend the money, but to have Mercedes-Benz on the Superdome with a brand-new car and and a brand-new audience and being a member of the community in New Orleans — those are a lot of dots that we’ll try to connect.” Via: Adage


While the official public debut of the much-anticipated Mercedes-Benz CLA four-door coupe is still nearly two months away, the vehicle has been spotted at red carpet premiers, racing alongside Formula One cars, and doing the club scene.  The CLA, a seductive and dynamic new coupe which will create a new entry point for the Mercedes-Benz brand, is the centerpiece of a new 60-second ad that will debut in the fourth quarter of the year’s biggest night in television advertising: Super Bowl XLVII.

The ad, which was created by Merkley+Partners (NYC), is a tongue-in-cheek depiction of how far a person might go to get their heart’s desire and what shape the “good life” might take.  Filmed in part on location in New Orleans, MBUSA went full throttle with star power including Kate Upton and Usher playing themselves.  But the commercial is more than just glitz, glamour and the unveiling of the CLA. It’s another example of the company’s ties to the city.

Long before purchasing the naming rights for the “Mercedes-Benz Superdome,” which will be the site of this year’s game, the company had been a supporter of the community. In October 2010, 180 employees from across the country spent more than three hours planting 125 trees to help restore some of what was lost to Hurricane Katrina.  This year, as part of their $1.3 million national-commitment to Laureus USA, MBUSA joined with Laureus and Coaches Across America in New Orleans to train and place 26 coaches in 11 local after-school sports programs with a goal of providing safe afterschool activities for area youth.

In addition to setting its ad in New Orleans, MBUSA will have a series of onsite activations in the city on the day of the game.  In the weeks ahead, the company will roll out a robust social media campaign, complementing the ad while building awareness and engagement prior to the arrival of the CLA in the Fall.

The company expects the CLA to bring in new buyers with an unexpected price point for the brand and a highly stylized, sporty design. Among its notable features is a dynamic on-board connectivity package allowing access to popular social media sites.

The CLA will make brief appearances at select events over the next few weeks leading up to its official world premiere at the Geneva Auto Show in March 2013.