Mercedes-Benz South Africa has come up with a powerful way to promote its self-driving technology--it recreated an iconic ad from its past about a notorious accident.
In 1990, a commercial made by the auto marque told the story of crash survivor Christopher White and how he plunged off a winding coast road at "Chapman's Peak" but survived virtually unscathed thanks to his seatbelt and his Mercedes-Benz. The spot won a Gold Lion at Cannes and was well-known in South Africa.
In the new film, by agency Network BBDO, the brand goes back to find White again, 30 years after his crash. He's asked to drive along the same stretch of road in a Mercedes S-Class--but the twist is, it's in an autonomous driving car. This makes for some tension as White seems obviously nervous; as the viewer, you're also watching anxiously as his car approaches the accident scene. Happily, all goes to plan--and it proves a memorable way to promote the technology.
Lourens van Rensburg of 7Films directs the five-minute spot, which mingles film from the original ad (and White reading from the print version) with the new footage. It's running in cinemas in South Africa as well as online.