Mercedes’ 1st Gear on Foursquare: $1,000 Check-Ins [Video]

Mercedes-Benz is utilizing the New York International Auto Show (NYIAS) to get off to a fast start on Foursquare.

In its first-ever Foursquare promotional offer, geo-social users checking in at the Jacob K. Javits Center in Manhattan, NY, will be encouraged to locate a Mercedes product specialist and show him or her their phone screen. Then, they will receive a $1,000 off voucher for a new car purchase. NYIAS 2011 runs from Friday through May 1.

“We are not nibbling around and watching Ford, Lexus, and GM try these things,” said Steve Cannon, the German carmaker’s U.S. VP of marketing. “I believe you’ve got to dive in.”

Speaking with ClickZ News today during pre-NYIAS festivities, Cannon explained how Mercedes is evolving in the digital space. The Foursquare launch, he said, signals that the company isn’t resting on its heels after orchestrating a successful Twitter campaign around its Super Bowl TV spot. In a seven-week effort dubbed “Tweet Race”, the brand selected four two-person driving teams that eventually took off on Feb. 2 for the Super Bowl to be played in Arlington, TX. Along their journeys, the teams were challenged to recruit as many Twitter followers and Facebook “likes” as possible for the so-called race.

“We went from zero followers on Twitter to 77,000 followers,” Cannon said. “And since that time, we have been using that newfound channel to regularly engage those [consumers].”

During January, Cannon and digital marketing manager Eric Jillard hired MBUSA’s first social media lead, Mark Aikman. For the upcoming auto show, their team has also run a NYIAS tickets giveaway campaign via Facebook. They created a tab on the brand’s Facebook page (2.8 million “likes”) to highlight the offer, which went from April 12-17.

In the video below, Cannon discusses – among other digital marketing topics – how social media can help sell cars at Mercedes’ 300-plus dealerships: