MNH Keeps Spirit of Lowe Benz Ads

First Campaign From New Agency Sticks With Same Approach
NEW YORK–The first work from Merkley Newman Harty for Mercedes-Benz USA, an account switch that sparked a multimillion lawsuit, looks and feels like previous ads from Lowe & Partners/SMS.
The new campaign, set to be unveiled in early September and still in production, continues with single-word themelines and executions that exude class and worldliness, sources said.
One TV commercial shows seven different models and asserts that in a world where some things seem out of place, there is only “one original”: Mercedes, sources said.
Another spot, “Security,” shows a series of crash tests over the years with images of people from those eras, sources said. The message: Mercedes goes further to make safer cars.
Two other ads, tied to “emotional, narrative” ideas, have a whimsical feel similar to Lowe’s “Peter Pan” spot, sources said. Each ends with a one word tagline, such as “Performance,” followed by the logo.
Other ads feature different models of SUVs placed in exotic locations around the world (including France, Australia and Bali). Those spots employ the theme, “The Mercedes M Class. The only SUV that drives like a Mercedes,” sources said.
“It’s not even an evolution. It’s a continuation of the same campaign,” one source said.
Scheduled to break next month, the campaign consists of about a half-dozen TV ads and 8-12 print ads. Mercedes and its vice president of marketing, Joe Eberhardt, declined comment other than to note that the work would be unveiled next month.
The similar tone is not surprising since the lead creatives–Marty Orzio, Andy Hirsch and Randy Saitta, as well as account manager Alex Gellert–worked on Mercedes while at Lowe. Those executives followed the business to MNH shortly after the agency won the coveted car account in the spring.
The move became the crux of a legal battle between Lowe parent The Interpublic Group of Cos. and former Lowe executive Marvin Sloves, whom IPG accuses of orchestrating the shift. IPG is suing Sloves for $25 million, alleging “breach of fiduciary duty.”
Lowe’s last work, which featured the 2000 S-Class, used icons such as Ernest Hemingway and Jackie Robinson, who are identified with generic labels: “a writer” and “a ballplayer.” The copy: “Sometimes words can be hopelessly inadequate.” Another spot showed artists such as Picasso and Dali assembling cars in a factory. It ended with a single word of copy: “art.”