Mercedes Aims C-Class Vehicles at a Younger Set

Mercedes-Benz targets its youngest buyers, consumers in their 20s, in a multimedia campaign for its C-Class vehicles, the lowest-priced line from the automaker.

The effort, from Merkley Newman Harty & Partners, New York, breaks July 24 with a 30-second TV spot for the new C230 sports coupe. The spot will air in 15 markets.

With a starting price of $24,950, the entry-level luxury segment C230 is aimed at 25-35-year-olds, said Rich Anderman, general manager of marketing communications at Mercedes. Previous efforts were aimed at a slightly older demographic, starting at 30, he said.

That makes the campaign an important test of Mercedes’ continuing effort to make the brand more relevant, hook younger buyers and establish brand loyalty earlier, Anderman said.

Although the overall campaign for the C230 falls under the C-Class’ theme of “Live. A lot,” the new commercial features the tagline, “The new C-Coupe. Change lanes.”

Like the characters in the C-Class sedan spots that broke last fall, the driver is shown “living life to the fullest,” said Alex Gellert, MNH partner and co-managing director. Other elements of the campaign include the “Live. A lot” tagline, he said.

In one spot, a casually dressed man with a scruffy beard and mustache maneuvers his coupe through the city, past the airport and into the country. Quick shots show the car from different angles along with the driver, who is obviously enjoying the ride.

The media buy for the campaign skews young, and pre-launch driving events in nine cities target youthful consumers at concerts and in restaurants that they’re likely to patronize.

Mercedes spent about $45 million advertising C-Class vehicles in 2000, according to CMR. MNH handles creative and media planning for Mercedes; Pentacom handles media buying.