Merkley + Partners Pits Tortoise Vs. Hare for Mercedes

By Erik Oster 

After teasing its Super Bowl spot from New York agency Merkley + Partners some ten days ago, Mercedes unveiled the 60-second “Fable” yesterday.

As the teaser indicated, the spot is a twist on the classic fable of the tortoise and the hare. Much like in the original telling of the tale, the hare falls victim to his own arrogance. After storming out of the gate, he figures he has enough time for a game of cards while the tortoise slowly shuffles along. The tortoise, meanwhile, finds a way to win (spoiler: it’s the 2016 Mercedes-AMG GT S). It’s all cute and whimsical enough until the agency feels the need to throw in a little casual misogyny towards the end.

As Merkley CEO Alex Gellert explained to Adweek, the agency’s focus for the ad was squarely on entertainment value. “There is an expectation among consumers that Super Bowl advertising will be entertaining, that it is at least equal parts entertainment as sell if not slightly more entertaining than sell,” he said. “They are mini pieces of cinema.”