Ads: Mercedes-Benz's TV spots for its new M-Class sports-utility vehicle
Agency: Lowe & Partners/SMS, New York
Marketing challenge: Make the vehicle seem as comfortable as a luxury car.
Solution: In one computer-animated spot, an adorable toddler in a rear safety seat implausibly sings in a rich Johnny Cash-like baritone about the handling of the SUV while his father maneuvers the vehicle through a heavy rainstorm. In the second commercial, passengers do all the things you'd never do in a car--apply nail polish, stack a deck of cards and serve hot tea in a china service as the 4x4 travels over bumpy terrain--to make the point that the truck rides smoothly. Pushing the commercial over the top is a closing shot of a terrier balancing a ball on its nose and teacups on a paw inside the still-moving vehicle. The company also uses Ed Sullivan. (See Advertising column on this page.)
Result: The truck appears roomy in both commercials, addressing complaints from some quarters that the M-Class doesn't have as much interior space as rivals. Meanwhile, the use of tea service in the second spot suggests Mercedes' upscale heritage. The commercials smartly communicate what Mercedes' believes to be the advantages of its 4x4, while making the brand seem fun and accessible--a theme that runs throughout Mercedes advertising. $$$
Ads are rated $ to $$$, based in probable effectiveness and tastefulness, with $$$ being the highest.