FOR THE NEXT 125 YEARS by Abc, Oliver Schrott Kommunikation for Mercedes-Benz

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FOR THE NEXT 125 YEARS

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Industry Cars
Media Promo & PR, Case study
Market Germany
Agency Abc
Agency Oliver Schrott Kommunikation
Released September 2011

Credits & Description

Category: Automotive and Transport
Advertiser: DAIMLER
Product/Service: MERCEDES-BENZ
Agency: OLIVER SCHROTT KOMMUNIKATION
Agency: ABC EVENT PRODUCTION
Managing Director: Oliver Schrott (Oliver Schrott Kommunikation)
Creative Director Motion Design: Holger Schubart (Oliver Schrott Kommunikation)
Senior Consultant: Alexa Küddelsmann (Oliver Schrott Kommunikation)
Senior Project Manager: Maike Vogt (Oliver Schrott Kommunikation)
Executive Director: Andree Verleger (ABC Event Productions)
Production Manager: Rüdiger Strattner (ABC Event Productions)
Director Global Communications Mercedes-Benz Cars: Christoph Horn (Daimler)
Senior Manager Events and International Activities: Andrea Eberhardt (Daimler)
Media placement: Mercedes-Benz Brand Evening - IAA 2011 - 12 September 2011
Media placement: Mercedes-Benz Press Conference IAA 2011 - IAA 2011 - 13 September 2011

Summary of the Campaign
The International Auto Show (IAA) in Frankfurt is traditionally the most important event for the automobile industry. In 2011 (the 125th anniversary year of the automobile) this was particularly true for its inventor Mercedes-Benz. The premium car-manufacturer used its presentation not only to look back to the past, but to offer journalists and other guests a glimpse of the future of individual mobility. With impressive news, meaningful headlines and powerful images, the brand communicated the message that Mercedes-Benz is stringly committed to taking on an active role in shaping the future of the automobile.

To effectively deliver this message, the PR Team developed an unusual two-part presentation for international journalists. In close collaboration, client, agency, PR-strategists, creatives and media-designers created a two-stage press conference that impressively supported the motto 'For the Next 125! Years'. At the core of this breathtaking performance was the interplay between speakers, cars, live stage-performers and powerful video-productions, blending the virtual with reality, generating a fascinating Gesamtkunstwerk (i.e. a total work of art) for the audience, and providing unusual imagery for TV-teams and photographers. The audience connected with the images. They got the message. The result: Mercedes-Benz received the most media coverage internationally.

The Situation
The International Auto Show (IAA) in Frankfurt is the most important event for the global automotive-industry. In keeping with its 2011 motto, 'Future comes as Standard', 1,012 exhibitors showcased their latest models and innovations. The IAA is particularly important for the German automotive industry and the 3 global leaders in the premium segment: BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Audi. The media focus is on the 2 press-days where new models are revealed and brands and their representatives enter the limelight to get top coverage on TV shows, in newspaper columns, and in magazines and on page-views.

The Goal
The 2-stage press event was designed to solidify the brand’s leadership position among German premium manufacturers and communicate memorably and convincingly Mercedes-Benz’s commitment to actively shape the next 125 years of automotive history. The focus on CEO Dieter Zetsche embodying this message was to strengthen public-perception of him as the main representative of the German automotive industry.

Another goal was to package core messages in ways that would entertain the audience while providing the media with dramatic images in a dynamic setting. The event-design was specifically geared to reach social media in addition to more traditional outlets.

The Strategy
To communicate the 2 major themes —vehicles and technologies that envision the future of the automobile and new production models — without overwhelming the audience on the first press-day, the agency-client project-team developed a comprehensive, unique PR story in 2 stages. Each had its own distinct tonality, yet both illustrated the motto, 'For the Next 125! Years'. Act 1, a festive brand evening — 'classic Mercedes' — for invited journalists and guests, offered a glimpse of the automobile of the future. Act 2, on the first press day, presented the inventor of the automobile in an unexpectedly fresh, young, and fascinating style. The motto here: 'Mercedes Next.'

Execution
At the core of the presentations was an extraordinary visual style that blended the virtual with reality. Large mobile video-screens on the stage created a three-dimensional performance space that allowed a dynamic and suspenseful interplay between speakers and cars, live acts and video installations.

The only presenter on the eve of the auto show was CEO Dieter Zetsche who spoke about the importance of fuel cell technology. The evening culminated in a 10-minute multi-media 'Symphony of Innovation' composed of video installations, live music, and dance performances. The entry of the hydrogen-powered concept car F125! in front of a gigantic virtual waterfall embodied the core message in a single picture.

For the first time, the press conference consisted of a continuous stream of images of modern mobility that integrated speakers, live acts, media, and models. The result was a powerful blend that fascinated the audience and provided unusual imagery.

Documented Results

The dual approach proved successful. News about the Mercedes-Benz B-Class as well as the F125! concept-car clearly positioned the company as an industry innovator. The F125! came in second on the top ten list of 'attention-getters', the B-Class 4th in Germany and 6th internationally. (Source: PRIME Research.) During the week of the IAA, Mercedes-Benz was the most frequently mentioned automotive brand in the media and Dr. Dieter Zetsche by far the most quoted CEO, claiming complete ownership of the topic of emission-free mobility through fuel-cell technology for Mercedes-Benz. In the electronic media, memorable messages and strong visuals also reaped measurable results: Mercedes-Benz took 3rd place on global online charts; smart came in 6th in global television rankings, an impressive result given its small size and modest market-share (Mercedes placed 3rd).