While the brand says its buying audience is very different to its communications audience, it aims to target the 25-44 year old age bracket as part of its strategy to target a younger and broader market.
The premium car brand is hosting a virtual vs reality racing initiative at Mercedes Benz World today (5 September) offering fans the chance to race F1 driver David Coulthard.
Coulthard will drive 10 laps of a racetrack in a real Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG while six competition finalists will race him on the same track in real time via PlayStation3 gaming pods using Gran Turismo 5.
The fan with the fastest time will win a trip to the Brazilian F1 Grand Prix.
“It is our strategy to connect with a younger audience, and it’s one of the reasons I’ve been brought on board. [The gaming initiative] is part of that wider strategy,” says David George, who joined Mercedes Benz as marketing director in May. He took over from Ian Dutfield who took on the after sales director role within the marque’s commercial vehicles division.
He adds that while the David Coulthard activity is a standalone piece on content, it reflects the brand’s collaborative approach to marketing combining PR, marketing and communications, events and Mercedes Benz World to achieve the brand’s wider goal.
“We’re making use of the assets we can create, taking a content idea and exploiting it across multiple channels to maximise the exposure to a broader, younger audience,” he says.
The car marque is also shifting its product development to resonate with younger drivers and it is preparing to launch a range of new models in its B, M and A-Class ranges next year following the launch of its SLK and first ever C-Class Coupé earlier this year.
“Mercedes Benz has been iconic in the UK market for decades as a desirable luxury brand. What we need to make sure is that it’s also relevant to that younger audience. Moving a car brand’s image takes a long time and rather than transforming Mercedes Benz we’re looking to sharpen the dynamic,” says George.
The German luxury car marque recently brought Coulthard on board as a brand ambassador, but he will not front all the brand’s advertising.