Mercedes tells a 360-degree story

Why immersive video is an effective platform for the luxury brand's aspirational stories.

Mercedes-Benz Canada has created an immersive, 360-degree video experience for the market, using it to tell a story and get drivers excited about the brand’s new Roadster and Cabriolet models.

Created by BBDO Toronto, the video was shot during a drive along Toronto’s Gardiner Expressway. From the vantage point of the car’s passenger seat, the highway and scenery whizzes by as you listen to the driver’s story about being drawn to Mercedes after going on drives in his grandfather’s roadster. Eventually, he pulls off the road and into a parking lot, where a vintage model (just like the one he describes) sits waiting.

The video is being promoted on YouTube and Facebook, with support and a media buy from OMD.

Mike Kasprow, SVP and ECD at BBDO, says that while 360-degree videos are becoming increasingly trendy, they need to tell a compelling story if they are going to keep a viewer engaged.

“There are a lot of 360 videos out there that we would just refer to as toys – you play with them and they’re cool and entertaining for a short period of time, but they have no real purpose beyond that,” Kasprow says. “We’re not chasing new tech just for the sake of using it, but we’re also not afraid of it if it’ll let us tell a story in an effective way.

Mercedes, over many other automotive brands, has license to tell stories that are generational in scope. There’s something far bigger that Mercedes represents, so we were looking at different platforms and ways to express that in more emotional ways.”

In addition to the 360-degree perspective, the video also uses “spatial sound,” a technology that shifts the sound mix based on where a viewer is “looking” in a 360-degree video. Combined with the details of the story being told, it allowed for the creation of a more dream-like feeling.

“For most car lovers, their first experience in a Mercedes is seared in their brain,” Kasprow says. “It’s a feeling that’s intangible, and the video puts us inside someone’s own memory of falling in love with the brand. So we wanted to create an ethereal story about one guy’s recollection of his experience and still have it make sense to a lot of people and get that feeling across.”

While the video’s point-of-view offers a full perspective on the vehicle’s features, like the digital displays and interior, spotlighting those things was not the main goal of the video. And even though the car is a convertible, it’s not even immediately clear which Mercedes Cabriolet or Roadster model the video is being shot from.

Recently, Mercedes has been bringing more social and digital into its marketing mix to find ways to not just get in front of the next generation of car enthusiasts, but engage them with brand stories like the one in this video. “Those stories are less about the metal and the technology and the engineering and more about these intangible things a luxury brand represents,” Kasprow says. “This fits with what we’re doing on social and digital platforms that will get in front of these people and engage them with the brand.”