THE BIG PUSH

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MONTVALE, N.J.-In its first brand image campaign since 1991, Mercedes-Benz of North America tonight breaks new advertising geared toward bridging its three product classes.

Offbeat actor Joe Mantegna ("Body of Evidence," "Homicide") provides the streetwise voice-over in four TV spots that agency Lowe & Partners/SMS, New York, says are meant to make Mercedes-Benz more "approachable" as a brand.

The new campaign that includes print support later this year is part of Mercedes' push to use more direct and integrated marketing in 1995, a move away from product-oriented advertising.

"We want to be more relevant ... to bring a more diverse customer group into our franchise," said Andrew Goldberg, general manager of integrated marketing communications for Mercedes-Benz.

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