Merkley Makes Mercedes a Car for All Seasons

NEW YORK Winter, spring, summer and fall are portrayed simultaneously in the latest Mercedes-Benz TV spot by Merkley Newman Harty & Partners, touting the 4Matic all-wheel drive feature available on all of the automaker’s cars.

The commercial, which broke nationally on Monday, shows a car driving down a winding road. The screen is split into four vertical sections, and it appears that four parts of the car are driving through different seasons. For example, the front of the car is traveling through summer weather, while it’s snowing on the back end.

A voiceover states, “Because there are four seasons, we make 4Matic all-wheel drive.” Onscreen copy reads: “4 Seasons. 4Matic.” The tagline, “Control. Unlike any other,” appears at the end of the spot, along with the Mercedes-Benz logo.

“We wanted to brand the word 4Matic, and luckily there are four seasons,” co-executive creative director Andy Hirsch said about the concept. “It shows that the cars can be used not just for winter and snow, but for wet leaves and wet spots on the road, too.”

The two-day shoot, directed by Juergen Bollmeyer of Gearhead in Vancouver, Canada, took place on a park road in Vancouver. Most of the seasons’ imagery was filmed in-camera, with the help of a snow and rain machine. “I’d say 90 percent of it was organic,” said Hirsch, who was also co-copywriter and art director on the spot. “That’s why it feels very real, because the car is actually going through four different surfaces.” Randy Saitta also served as co-executive creative director, copywriter and art director on the ad.

Visual effects house The Mill in New York added touches like fall leaves on the trees and synchronized the four parts to make the ad look “pristine,” Hirsch said.

The shoot was seamless thanks to clear Vancouver weather. “It’s kind of ironic,” Hirsch said. “If it actually did rain or snow, we’d have been kind of screwed.”

The commercial is part of an integrated campaign, which also includes two print ads and three radio spots. In addition, Rapp Collins in New York created direct mail pieces, Critical Mass in Calgary, Alberta, produced an interactive component, and Designory in New York developed dealer materials.

DaimlerChrysler in Auburn Hills, Mich., spent about $140 million overall on measured media for its Mercedes-Benz brand in 2002, according to Nielson Monitor-Plus.