Stuttgart. On 29 January 1886, Carl Benz changed the world when he filed a patent application (number 37435) for his "gas engine-powered vehicle" with the Reich Patent Office in Berlin. This marked the birth of the automobile. Mercedes-Benz has since had around 80,000 pioneering inventions patented. The Mercedes brand is thus fittingly celebrating the anniversary of the invention of the automobile under the banner "125! years of innovation". The anniversary year will kick off with an advertising campaign which will run in the print media, on TV and on the internet from 19 January to 2 February 2011.
"The anniversary campaign communicates Mercedes-Benz's ambition to lead in self-assured and authentic style," explains Anders Sundt Jensen, Vice President Brand Communications Mercedes-Benz Cars. "It combines the past, present and future of our brand in a simple manner, clearly communicating the message that we invented the automobile 125 years ago, that we are continually reinventing it through an endless succession of innovations and that we will continue to play an instrumental role in shaping the future of sustainable mobility as an innovation leader."
The campaign centres on a print advertisement, a magazine supplement, numerous online measures and a ten second TV spot. A sleek and timelessly elegant design ensures that the look of the campaign is fully in keeping with the signature Mercedes-Benz style and portrays even 100 year-old vehicles with such a modern feel as if they had only just been invented. The vehicles are presented in a gleaming bright setting free of any distractions. A powerful light source brings out their characteristic lines to maximum advantage and lends all the surfaces an extremely brilliant appearance.
Print advertisement, supplement and TV spot
Under the heading "Inventors of the automobile. Since 1886!" the print advertisement motif, which is to appear as a full-page advertisement in national daily newspapers, shows the Benz Patent motor car from 1886 alongside the present-day F 800 Style research vehicle. It thus spans the entire course of development from the initial invention of the automobile to the latest technical and design innovations. This motif is complemented by a concise and succinct text message: "125 years ago, we invented the automobile. Today, our passion for new ideas is as strong as ever, as we work on everything from electric drive systems to fuel cell technologies. Because 125 years from now, we still plan to be ahead of our time.”
The 16 page supplement for general interest magazines takes up the time span from the first automobile to the F 800 Style and additionally presents some of the leading innovations with which Mercedes-Benz has written automobile history under the heading "Coming up with answers. Since 1886!" A small selection of vehicles shows by way of example how the Mercedes brand has continually answered the question " When will there finally be a vehicle that...?" over the past 125 years. Since the 500 K special roadster from 1934 there has been an automobile that combines sportiness with elegance, for example; since the S-Class from 1978 there has been a car whose wheels do not lock during hard braking and since the B-Class F-Cell from 2010 there has been a vehicle which can cover up to 400 kilometres without a single drop of petrol. With a circulation of around 20 million copies, the brochure will be distributed in car, business and lifestyle magazines.
The ten-second TV spot also showcases the Stuttgart-based premium brand's countless inventions in a surprising and humorous manner. It shows an endless procession of current and historical Mercedes-Benz vehicles jostling their way into the picture and hooting loudly. While 125 years of innovation cannot fit into a commercial ad, they are embodied in every Mercedes-Benz. Furthermore the signet “125! years of innovation“ will be integrated in this year’s launch campaigns.
Numerous online measures
At www.mercedes-benz.com/125 the Stuttgart-based premium brand provides an overview of all activities in the anniversary year and the presents the history of the Mercedes-Benz brand. A calendar offers information on worldwide events, a download area includes iPhone apps and wallpaper featuring the various campaign motifs and the content of the "Mercedes World" area has been revised and expanded. New sections such as "Design", "Automotive innovation flagships" or "How it all began" provide a comprehensive and entertaining means of discovering the brand – from the invention of the automobile to visionary technologies for future mobility.
The website was launched in German and English on 19 January. Additional languages (including Italian, French and Spanish) will follow shortly. In a second phase of the relaunch, additional content offering added value for users will be made available including apps for iPhone and iPad, films and an interactive Mercedes-Benz birthday wish.
The platform also offers a web film entitled "Hooty Birthday", which users can send as a birthday greeting to friends, acquaintances and relatives.
Broad-ranging activities in the anniversary year
The campaign will be backed up by comprehensive retail marketing activities and numerous exhibitions and events for customers and staff. The Daimler Art Collection will be appearing at the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart with the "Arts & Stars & Cars" exhibition from May to September 2011, for example. More than 160 exhibits of modern and contemporary art by over 80 internationally renowned artists will be on show. These will include numerous works focusing on the history, models and design of Mercedes-Benz automobiles. The legendary Cars series created by pop art luminary Andy Warhol 25 years ago to mark the 100th anniversary of the invention of the automobile will be on display, as will works by Bertrand Lavier, Robert Longo, Sylvie Fleury and Vincent Szarek.
The Mercedes-Benz Museum is the only place in the world in which the complete 125-year history of the automobile can be experienced in its entirety. To mark this 125th anniversary the museum will be opening a new exhibition room as part of the permanent display. As of 30 January, Legend 6 – ‘New Start – the Road to Emission-free Mobility’ – will offer a perspective on challenges both present and future, as well as issues concerning drive technologies of tomorrow.
Additional exhibitions will take place at the international Mercedes-Benz galleries, the Mercedes-Benz brand centres and the Mercedes-Benz customer centres. With selected historical and topical exhibits they will provide a vivid demonstration of how the invention of the automobile has affected and continues to affect society and highlight Mercedes-Benz's innovative prowess – in particular in the context of the future of mobility. Mercedes-Benz is additionally sponsoring a number of events including the "Automobile Summer 2011" series organised by the federal state of Baden-Württemberg to celebrate 125 years of the car, which will run from May to September 2011, and is also participating with an event of its own in Stuttgart's city festival in August 2011.
From mid August 2011, Mercedes-Benz will be inviting the public to play an active part in the birthday celebrations in Stuttgart . The kick-off event on 10 August 2011 will be a football international in the converted Mercedes-Benz Arena in Stuttgart between the German men’s team and a Brazilian select eleven, for which Mercedes-Benz will appear as “sponsors of the day”. On subsequent days at central locations throughout Stuttgart, Mercedes-Benz will be offering multimedia performances, vehicle exhibitions and insights into the future of the automobile for young and old. In Berlin in late summer, Mercedes-Benz and the official international Mercedes-Benz Clubs will also be organising the largest Mercedes-Benz meeting ever staged.