Someone Out There: Benz spot provides welcome change of perspective

This monthly column looks at marketing issues from a consumer's point of view. Our consumer columnist is a single-urban-dwelling female, 18-34, with a university degree and an income in the $30K to $40K range.So many marketing topics I could talk about,...

This monthly column looks at marketing issues from a consumer’s point of view. Our consumer columnist is a single-urban-dwelling female, 18-34, with a university degree and an income in the $30K to $40K range.

So many marketing topics I could talk about, yet here I am doing a second column on car advertising. And a second positive one at that.

(Those of you who read this column every month may remember when, a few months ago, I commented on the good use of music in the Jag and Chevy truck tv commercials.)

Now, it’s ironic that I can muster up two columns-worth of good things to say about car spots since normally they are among the many banes of my existence.

To wit, if I see one more sleek vehicle swooshing around that mountain curve I’m going to pull an Elvis and shoot my television set.

And, as far as I’m concerned, the annoyance factor has shot through the sunroof since words (in all different typefaces, of course) floating in all directions around the screen have become the vogue.

But that is precisely why I liked the spot for Mercedes-Benz that I saw the other night. It was the anti-vogue. And as regular readers may have noticed, I’m anti just about everything, so basically, if it’s anti, I’m for it.

Anyway, the show I was watching started with the notice that this program was brought to me by the makers of Mercedes-Benz such-and-such-a-number.

I made sure my current novel and my mute button were close at hand to while away the commercial time (the mute button alone being inadequate with car commercials, due to the above-mentioned floating-words/swooshing-vehicle syndrome.)

But then the commercial came on.

No car.

No sleek profiles, no shiny paint jobs, no automatic windows buzzing up and down.

Road, yes.

But from a driver’s-eye-view. Much more exciting. We, as the driver, zipped through all kinds of terrain, all the while – get this – looking at the road through the hood ornament.

And there’s only one kind of car that has that distinctive hood ornament. And even I know which car that is, even though I will never in my wildest dreams be in the market for one.

Let’s analyze this:

1) They got someone who’s completely fed up with car commercials to watch one.

2) Their company gained goodwill for taking a fresh approach

3) By using the hood ornament they got to have their company id up on the screen the whole time without being annoying.

4) They got to bask in the knowledge that they’re high-profile enough to be known by only their hood ornament/ logo.

5) This low-key type of ‘name’ flashing probably appealed to their prospective buyers who probably think that only people in the know (i