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SBD Global/May 8, 2014/Marketing and Sponsorship

Mercedes-Benz Revs Up World Cup Campaign Featuring German National Team

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Germany's national team poses in front of the camera during a Mercedes shoot.
Maximum substance, sovereignty and self-confidence -- those are the attributes that Mercedes-Benz wants to communicate through its World Cup marketing campaign. The campaign slogan “Bereit wie nie” (“Ready like never before”) is a reference to Germany’s national team as well as the new C-Class. “It is now time to retrieve this power for the World Cup and bring it successfully ‘on the road.’ The claim applies to the German national team, the new C-Class and parent company Daimler AG in 2014,” said Claudia Merzbach, head of sports communications at Mercedes-Benz. The campaign officially launched on the company’s social media channels on March 3. However, it will pick up speed during the next several weeks leading up to the World Cup. This is when Mercedes will start using traditional marketing avenues like print, TV and point-of-sale activities. “We will show the TV commercial for the first time next Monday during a press event, but the first broadcast on German TV will be during the Champions League final on May 24,” said Jens Thiemer, head of marketing communications at Mercedes-Benz Cars. For the campaign’s creative execution, Mercedes commissioned Hamburg-based agency Jung von Matt. While the focal point of the campaign is Germany, the national team’s strong reputation on an international level provides opportunities to target other markets as well. Merzbach told SBD Global that sales teams in other markets will have the possibility to adapt the campaign and tailor it to their specific local needs.

THE RIGHT CHANNELS: The fact that the campaign launched on social media more than two months ahead of traditional channels shows the increasing importance of those online tools to companies and campaigns. Merzbach said that the social media component plays a central role in the campaign’s strategy and can greatly influence its success. She said, “For many customers it is important to have a direct contact with the company, be able to interact with them and give feedback.” Mercedes will try to make use of this potential during the World Cup. The campaign’s increased focus on social media also speaks to the C-Class’ younger target demographic. A high-ranking Stuttgart-based official involved in the new car’s conception reportedly said, “We want once and for all to discard the idea that the C-Class is a car bought by your grandfather.”

VALUED PARTNERSHIP: The luxury car brand and the blue-collar sport -- what seems to be an odd relationship at first -- has been one of the most successful in German sports history. The partnership between Mercedes and the German Football Federation (DFB) dates back to the early ‘70s. While neither side provided any financial details of their partnership, Sport Bild reported that the most recent six-year deal has an estimated value of €50M ($69.5M). With football being the No. 1 sport in Germany and the German national team as its ultimate product, Mercedes is guaranteed public awareness. Merzbach said, “During European Championships or World Cups most of the German population is going to sit in front of the TV, keep the fingers crossed and support the German team.”
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