It's a long way from fahrvergnugen.
The high-profile entry into this week's chart from Mercedes-Benz, called "Invisible," is more about social responsibly and respecting the environment than about "driving pleasure," which was Volkswagen's pitch from the nineties.
The 90-second spot, created by the Jung von Matt agency in Hamburg, Germany, is a rather fascinating road trip through Deutschland aboard a Mercedes experimental compact called the F-Cell Hydrogen vehicle.
One side of the car is layered with sheets of LEDs that reportedly cost about $250,000 to make, and there's a high-end Canon digital camera mounted on the other side. The camera captures images that are then "mirrored" in lights via the LEDs. It's like a moving billboard…only more immediate. The images are somewhat grainy, especially when the car is in motion, but the instant-gratification factor for participating spectators is especially high.
The flag that the German brand is waving with this spot is the zero-emissions technology allowed by the fuel cell, which produces no toxic output, only water vapor after burning hydrogen as fuel. But hydrogen is exceptionally expensive to package as fuel, and the mass-marketing of such an advanced power source for automobiles is still at least three years away. But the ad, promoting a car "invisible to the environment," makes it seem user-friendly, if only for 90 seconds.