Mercedes Starts-Up M-Class Campaign With iTV

Mercedes-Benz USA is employing an interactive satellite TV spot to kick off a month-long multimedia campaign for its 2006 M-Class luxury sport utility vehicles.

The 30-second spot, which began running on the DISH Network’s Catalog TV shopping channel earlier this week, links viewers via an on-screen pop-up message to an interactive Web-like environment on their TV sets. From this interactive console, viewers can use their remote controls to view an expanded, 90-second version of the M-class commercial, access a photo gallery, order brochures, and view another separate video advertisement. DISH Network viewers will also be given information about a 35-city “road rally” M-Class promotion, and invited to attend their local event.

The spots will continue to appear until March 31. The DISH network says it has 10 million interactive TV subscribers.

“We view satellite TV as the perfect tactic to target potential M-Class buyers,” said Liz Birenbaum, supervisor of Internet marketing at Mercedes-Benz USA. “We’re a luxury brand and one of the reasons people are willing to pay a premium price is because of the latest technology we put in our cars. DISH subscribers offer us an affluent audience who are also early adopters.”

As part of its online strategy, Mercedes plans to start running banner ads in the next ten days on the Web sites of Kelley Blue Book and to target automotive consumers late in the buying cycle. The company has yet to determine exactly which ad sizes and placements it will employ, Birenbaum said.

Those ads will link viewers to a Web micro-site featuring a 360-degree view of the M-Class vehicle and product specifications, with an array of driver experience audio sounds.

Mercedes will also send out an email newsletter to a database of M-class enthusiasts who sign up to receive it on the product’s micro-site. There will be no paid search component to the campaign.

Television spots will run on national cable and broadcast networks, as well on regional stations. Print ads will run in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Newsweek, InStyle, as well as in regional newspapers. Both TV and print ads will feature the same tag line, “Legendary unlike any other,” with a call to action to visit the product’s micro-site.

Mercedes worked with its agency of record Mirkley & Partners on the campaign, tapping the Critical Mass division for the interactive components of the promotion.

Only a few days into the satellite TV campaign, Birenbaum said Mercedes has seen a “higher than anticipated” number of leads generated by the experimental promotion.

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