Mercedes-Benz eyes big score with new car ad in Super Bowl 2013

Fri Dec 7, 2012 4:32pm EST
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By Kathy Finn

NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) - While millions of TV viewers focus on the outcome of the upcoming Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans, executives at Mercedes-Benz USA will be waiting for a late-game commercial introducing the car they hope will bring them thousands of new, younger customers.

Marking only the second time Daimler AG's (DAIGn.DE: Quote) luxury brand has advertised in the National Football League's championship game, the February 3 advertisement will unveil the 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA, a sporty compact sedan due to go on sale next fall priced from around $30,000, according to a source familiar with the company's plans.

Slotted below the C-class as the company's entry-level model in the United States, the 2014 CLA will be aimed at buyers in their 30s who can step up to higher-end Mercedes models as they grow older and more affluent, according to Stephen Cannon, chief executive of Mercedes-Benz USA, in an interview.

The four-door CLA, which is due to make its public debut in March at the Geneva auto show, features a sloping coupe-like roof line similar to that on the larger, more expensive CLS. A preview of the CLA, called Concept Style Coupe, was staged last April at the Beijing Auto Show.

"This isn't going to be a kid's vehicle," Cannon said. The CLA will be priced "significantly below the C-class," which is Mercedes' current entry point. The CLA does not target a first-time car buyer, "but it's going to lower the entry age," he said, from the current 52 years.

Bringing in new, younger buyers is a target all luxury brands are racing to hit to keep themselves relevant in a highly competitive market.

General Motors Co's (GM.N: Quote) Cadillac brand earlier this year introduced the 2013 ATS compact sedan that starts at about $34,000, and Ford Motor Co (F.N: Quote) will show a concept version of the 2014 Lincoln MKC compact crossover at the Detroit auto show in January.

Cannon said the Super Bowl commercial and a promotional campaign built around it represent the largest single marketing investment the company will make in the U.S. market next year. Air time, according to the latest industry estimates, may cost upward of $7 million for the 60-second spot set in New Orleans' French Quarter. The ad will feature singer Usher as a high-styled man about town with swimsuit super model Kate Upton as the object of his desire, according to a Mercedes representative.   Continued...

A Mercedes-Benz logo is seen on a displayed car on media day at the Paris Mondial de l'Automobile September 28, 2012. REUTERS/Jacky Naegelen