December 19, 2013
Jaguar USA took aim at Mercedes-Benz's recent Magic Body Control television spot with a jocular commercial that pits a chicken against a jaguar.
The original Mercedes commercial shows a few chickens dancing in the air under the direction of human hands, which is supposed to be an analogy for the brand's new body control feature. Without context Jaguar's commercial seems like a bizarre challenge to Mercedes-Benz, but, for viewers privy to Mercedes-Benz' original, the parody gains humorous clarity.
"There is no rivalry between Jaguar and Mercedes," said Stuart Schorr, vice president of communications and public affairs at Jaguar Land Rover North America, Mahwah, NJ. "They are a leading luxury auto manufacturer and therefore one of our top competitors.
"Imitation is the highest form of flattery and this video was our way of having a little fun while also giving credit to the creative team at Mercedes," he said.
The original commercial attempts to convey how Mercedes' magic body control functions. The actual feature allows the car's suspension to anticipate upcoming road situations such as bumpy terrain through a stereo in the windscreen that ensures comfortability.
Mercedes "Chicken" commercial
The German automaker gets this message across by showing disembodied white-gloves and black-sleeves, representing magic body control, propping up chickens, representing Mercedes vehicles.
The peaceful fowl are then guided through a choreographed routine to singer Diana Ross' "Upside Down" that involves swooping around and bouncing from side to side.
Magic body control TV spot
More than seven million YouTube views for the commercial have accumulated on the brand's personal channel since the Sept. 23 debut.
Jaguar took note of the commercial's popularity and staged a parody.
In the British automaker's version, viewers see the person behind the hands as he dances along with the chicken with strained facial expressions and utter seriousness.
Jaguar vs. Chicken
When the "scientist" finishes the dance, he says, "See? It's just like a Mercedes." The chicken is then devoured by a Jaguar.
Jaguar vs. Chicken
The commercial ends with script explaining that Jaguar prefers cat-like reflexes to magic body control. Taking jabs at Mercedes might seem antagonistic if the luxury car market was not thriving the way it is, but record sales for many brands, especially Mercedes, marks the commercial as banter.
Jaguar vs. Chicken
As of press time, the commercial on the brand's YouTube channel garnered around 300,000 views.
The British automaker has recently announced numerous television spots that cast the brand in a facetious light.
For instance, Jaguar USA is joining the holiday party with a new campaign that plays on its feline name to generate test-drives.
The “Cat in Boxes” television spot leverages the popular online trend of cats climbing into boxes, then reverses the idea by showing a Jaguar breaking out of a box. By tapping into the spirit of cheer, while also departing from most stock symbols, the brand will distinguish itself from other holiday commercials (see story).
Also, Jaguar is making its first appearance during the Super Bowl XLVIII with a commercial for its F-Type Coupe that may propel the brand’s strong year-to-date growth in the United States.
The F-Type advertising campaign will make the case that British actors play the best film villains and the “Disruptor” television spot will make its broadcast debut during the second half of the Super Bowl XLVIII on Fox. Entering the clamorous arena of Super Bowl advertising likely indicates that Jaguar wants to cement its ties with new U.S. consumers (see story).
The brand has seen strong responses to its new strain of comical commercials, so it may maintain this line well into the future.
"The reaction to our video has been great thus far," Mr. Schorr said.
"Everyone enjoys a little friendly competition and acknowledges how brilliant the original ad was and how clever and fun our spin on it was," he said.
Joe McCarthy, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York