The all-new Mercedes Benz CLA was designed to attract a new consumer to the brand. The Gen Y consumer that simply couldn’t picture Mercedes as part of their lifestyle. So how did we capture the hearts of a generation that thought the brand was for their father or grandfather? We re-thought our traditional approach. And two months before the U.S. launch we invited Gen Y to Take The Wheel.
Photographer 1: “For the next 5 days, I’m taking the wheel for Mercedes CLA in New York City. If I get more Instagram likes than the other four photographers, I get to keep the CLA”
We didn’t bring in the typical professionals. Instead, we found Instagram’s best photographers. We didn’t give them a brief, we gave them a challenge.
Photographer 2: “For the longest time, now, I’ve wanted to shoot a campaign entirely on my iPhone. If I get more likes than the other four guys, I get to keep the car!”
We didn’t doctor the pixel-perfect car shots. We didn’t even approve the pictures first. We watched 5 authentic road trips unfold in real-time, one after the other, with millions of followers along for the ride.
Puppet in Photographer 3’s Instagram video: “Ready!”
People got behind their favorite photographer, knowing that each like brought them closer to the car.
Photographer 4: “Definitely different than your typical week on Instagram. I’m in a place like Yosemite National Park, there’s very little cell phone service and I hadn’t planned on that. So, I knew I had to post these photos and I was literally, like, holding my phone out the sunroof of the car to try to get more bars.”
The journeys traveled outside of Instagram where millions more checked out the campaign and experienced the content. As we engaged millions of new consumers, who had never considered the brand before, we also collected stunning marketing assets for the launch campaign. But the big question is: can mobile photography move cars? The month of Take The Wheel, visits to mbusa.com hit an all-time high, with the lowest average age in the brand’s history. When the CLA launched two months later, it broke sales records. At the end of the day, we found a new way to communicate one of our brand truths: “it’s not how far or fast you go, it’s who follows you.”