December 4, 2018
German automaker Mercedes-Benz is showcasing the strengths of its GLE sport utility vehicle through a short film about preparation and resilience.
Though not the film’s focal point, the midsize SUV is featured throughout the story about a woman preparing to push her body by participating in a triathlon. Luxury automakers often turn to inspirational stories – fictionalized or not – to create an emotional connection between consumers and their cars.
“In The Long Run” begins with the protagonist, Susan, training on a stationary bike. As she pedals, she wears an oxygen mask and different scenes flash in her mind.
After her husband picks her up at the training center, he encourages Susan to speak to their daughter, Julie, who has no intention of watching her mother at her race the following day.
A new campaign from Mercedes follows a woman participating in a triathlon
The next morning, however, it is clear that this decision is weighing heavily on Julie. Scenes of Susan beginning her triathlon swim are juxtaposed with Julie flipping through a scrapbook she keeps about her mother, including pictures of her mother holding her as a baby.
As Susan continues in the competition, scrapbook clippings reveal that this is no ordinary triathlon for her and her family.
Susan, a famous mountaineer, was critically injured in a fall and ended up in a coma. Another newspaper clipping even casts doubt on her ability to walk in the future.
Meanwhile, Julie's father and brother arrive at the final race location as Susan is transitioning from cycling to running. Julie is searching through photo boxes and finds something that motivates a change of heart.
The father receives a message, and races in his GLE to pickup Julie. He uses voice technology to have the Mercedes give Julie a call as he arrives at the house, and they speed back to arrive before Susan crosses the finish line.
Voice technology is featured in a key part of the campaign. Image credit: Mercedes
As Susan collapses at the end of the race from relief and exhaustion, it is revealed that she has been pushing her body while using a prosthetic leg, a result from her accident. Julie runs to meet her mom with a bouquet of flowers.
As the mother and daughter embrace, a photograph of the pair in the hospital is shown. A tagline reads, “For all the miles that make you stronger.”
Mercedes-Benz has featured the GLE in some of its most creative campaigns.
For instance, the automaker continued its quest for adventure by using its GLE model as a photography tool on an expedition to Norway.
The #MBvideocar series is the automaker’s celebration of filmmaking and photography that allows viewers to explore parts of the world they would not normally see. Its latest episode gave photographer Luca Jaenichen free range as he showcased the beautiful landscape of Norway in a Mercedes GLE (see story).
Sales of sport utility vehicles have dominated the luxury car market in 2018, but the gap between high-end and mass-market SUVs is narrowing.
More than 1 million luxury vehicles have sold this year, 62 percent of which were SUVs, according to a report from Edmunds. Growing availability of high-end SUVs has driven this trend, but the price gap between luxury and mainstream vehicles has also shrunk 10 percent in the last decade.
Traditionally, luxury automakers have differentiated themselves from mass market brands with better performance and styling. With SUVs, however, handling and horsepower are of lesser importance, which lowers the premium added to the high-end options (see story).