GLK Advertising: 180° from expected

Muamer Hodzic September 29, 2008

During the run-up to the model’s market launch in October 2008, Mercedes-Benz is expanding its comprehensive marketing campaign for the GLK-Class to include print advertisements and television commercials. “Our print campaign and the TV spot focus on the typical characteristics of the GLK — the striking form and surprisingly different design,” says Dr. Olaf Gà¶ttgens, Vice President Brand Communications Mercedes-Benz Cars. “With the GLK we are providing a new opportunity for customers to enter the SUV world of our brand. And for the launch of this vehicle we have used every communication channel in order to come into direct dialogue with our customers and, in particular, young target groups.”

The claim “Mercedes, 180° from expected. The GLK.” refers to the model ‘s extraordinary design features. Mercedes-Benz launched its comprehensive marketing campaign in March 2008 across all communication channels, with activities ranging from advertisements in print media to TV commercial, product placements, special events, a Webspecial, and extensive CRM activities.

Print ads and TV commercial

The photographer team of Warren du Preez & Nick Thornton Jones, which is well known for its light painting technique, has juxtaposed the expressive design of the GLK with artificial light arrangements, thereby showcasing the model in a completely new manner. The advertisements will be placed in high-circulation general-interest magazines and daily newspapers.

The claim “Mercedes, 180° from expected. The GLK.” is also taken up in the television commercial, which runs under the title “It Can’t Be.” Here, the two legendary Hollywood stars, Marilyn Monroe and James Dean, are just as astonished to see the GLK as the car ‘s female passenger is astonished to see them. It’s a completely unexpected encounter for everyone. The reaction of the Hollywood stars, who today still stand for a style that is timeless, serves as the highest compliment for the surprisingly different design of the GLK-Class. The television commercial will be broadcast on all public and private channels with a high audience rate, as well as on Mercedes-Benz TV, the brand channel of the Stuttgart-based car manufacturer.

Focus on events and communication through direct contact

A competition known as “The design:project” recently offered European design students an extraordinary opportunity to experience and creatively analyze the GLK and its distinctive design even before the official launch of the model. The competition called on the students to use the GLK as an inspiration for creating new design objects. The first prize went to young designers of the Istituto Marangoni in Milan. The students interpreted design elements of the Mercedes-Benz GLK as objects from everyday life, and presented these design items in a fashion shoot setting in a novel way, as objects of desire.

The “GLK Driving Experience” event focuses on personalized individual contact with existing Mercedes-Benz customers and potential buyers. The traveling driving presentation, which is visiting popular European vacation spots, high-end shopping malls, and luxury hotel chain partners, offers interested participants the opportunity to experience for themselves the outstanding driving comfort of the GLK in a relaxed atmosphere. The GLK Driving Experience was launched in August 2008 and will continue until March 2009.

Product placements and online communication

The GLK had its first major presentation to the public back in May, when it appeared in the blockbuster movie “Sex and the City.” The vehicle was also used as a key visual, along with top model Eva Padberg, during the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in Berlin. Also last spring, Mercedes-Benz launched a Webspecial at, which is being advertised in various banners on the Internet as well. The Webspecial offers users the opportunity to actively participate in the design of a music video, use a moving image configuration to put together their own GLK, and communicate interactively with the vehicle’s designers. The mobile configurator, as well as extensive additional campaign content such as “Questions for GLK Designers” and “Sex and the City” downloads, are also available as mobile specials for cell phones at

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