Mercedes Super Bowl Ad: Based on BMW Film?
This is a fun week in advertising, where we get online sneak peeks at commercials that officially debut during the Super Bowl. (FYI – YouTube research shows that those who give access to their commercials before Sunday actually get 600% more views, so expect this trend to continue.)
In watching many Big Game spots today, I was struck by the ad from Mercedes. Called “Soul,” this spot pulls out some big guns (WIllem Defoe and Usher, for example) and is set to the Rolling Stones’ Sympathy for the Devil. Basic premise: Satan offers a regular guy the opportunity to have a new Mercedes “and everything that goes with it.” The price? His soul, of course. Regular guy imagines all the greatness of being a Mercedes driver, which apparently includes fame, women, racetrack glory and dancing with Usher. He then sees the price – under $30K – and decides he can “get this” on his own. Catchy tune, fun spot to watch, nice reveal of the price tag at the end. So what’s my problem with this spot? BMW created a groundbreaking series of Internet Films back in 2001 (which I was fortunate enough to promote as a member of BMW’s agency partners team), including one called Beat the Devil. And guess what? The premise was awfully similar: big bang talent (James Brown, Gary Oldman, Clive Owen), hot German-engineered car, all of life’s greatness offered by the devil in exchange for soul ownership.
Here are both spots. Makes me wonder if anyone on the MB agency side bothered searching the Net to see if something like this had already been done…by their biggest competitor. Or if they did, perhaps they neglected to mention it to the Stuttgart team. Or – and this is what I hope for everyone’s sake over there – they all knew and simply didn’t care, because they just loved their spin on the idea that much.