Mercedes E-Class gets an early start

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Mercedes-Benz USA will launch its newest generation E-Class sedan with a $35 million big bang starting Sept. 23 on national broadcast and cable TV. But the automaker is already running the first of three 60-second commercials in spot markets. "We got the cars rolling a little earlier than we expected," said Dave Schembri, VP-marketing.

biggest launch

As a result, Mercedes is using its inventory of spot buys for other models to support the 2003-model E-Class. The flight post-Sept. 23 is roughly six weeks, and includes magazines in October, along with radio, outdoor and the Internet.

The E-Class launch is Mercedes' biggest in terms of ad spending by model line this year, said Mr. Schembri. Mercedes spent $22 million in measured media last year on E-Class and $3 million in the first half of 2002, according to Taylor Nelson Sofres' CMR. Mercedes has targeted sales of more than 50,000 E-Class vehicles next year, according to Automotive News.

In a spot from Omnicom Group's Merkley Newman Harty, New York, an E-Class owner does his chores in the car, including coaching soccer and trimming hedges. "You may never want to leave it," the narrator says. Another shows a man given three wishes by a genie, who gets bored waiting for his master to finish playing with his first, the E-Class. The tag: "Experience. Unlike any other" (AdAge QwikFIND aan93a).

Separately, Mercedes' Rich Anderman, general manager-marketing and communications, is switching sides later this month to join Merkley. Mr. Schembri said Mr. Anderman will beef up Merkely's growing Mercedes' regional dealer ad account and will not be replaced.

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