Mercedes fights back with new ads

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A black and white ad, to be used at the discretion of the individual Mercedes-Benz offices in Europe in their own countries' national daily newspapers, now goes so far as to boast that the beleaguered A-Class is one of the safest cars on the road.

It points to more recent road tests the car has been put through, at Idiata in Barcelona, Spain, on December 8, declaring: "The A-Class has safely passed the moose test. We've learned our lesson. And what does it mean for you?" The moose test, during which the driver swerves suddenly as if to avoid a moose on the road, was the particular test the A-Class so spectacularly failed at the end of October.

The body copy goes on to explain in detail why the original car tipped up and confesses: "We've made an error, but we have learned." It also outlines the technical changes Mercedes has made to the vehicle to enhance its safety. Before the moose test fiasco, the company was already marketing the car on a solid safety platform, an important feature given its tiny size.

In Mercedes' home market of Germany, the print ad in newspapers of December 11 promoted the fact that state-owned TV channels ARD3 and ZDF, along with private TV stations RTL and SAT1, would all be broadcasting that night a film of the A- Class successfully completing the moose test.

The ad also gives a toll-free phone number for consumers to call for further information on the car, along with Mercedes- Benz's Web site address.

Copyright December 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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