October 17, 2013
German automaker Mercedes-Benz USA is generating awareness for S-Class and C-Class models through a trifecta mobile advertisement found on New York magazine’s The Cut site.
Due to the ad’s placement at the top, center and bottom of the content page, its recurring appearance is likely to attract the attention of readers. A mobile ad that repeatedly pulls the reader away from the site’s content may generate more click-throughs than an ad that appears only once.
"The Cut, a fashion-forward magazine, is a strategic place for Mercedes to place their ads," said Shuli Lowy, marketing director at Ping Mobile, Beverly Hills, CA.
"Since the magazine allows readers to explore luxury apparel we can assume that the audience is likely comprised of many luxury shoppers who would be a suitable audience to promote a Mercedes vehicle to," she said. "Serving two different ads from one brand in one page is a structurally interesting phenomenon which marketers have varied opinions about.
"On one hand, the brand is competing against itself. If a user clicks on the ad for the Mercedes CLA model he or she will not click on the ad for the S-Class models, but on the other hand, serving two ads for one brand simultaneously provides a more powerful brand impact and allows for valuable A/B testing."
Ms. Lowy is not affiliated with Mercedes-Benz USA, but agreed to comment as an industry expert.
Mercedes-Benz USA was unable to comment before press deadline.
Behind the wheel
Readers on The Cut’s mobile-optimized site may be distracted by the Mercedes ad as they read through the article where ad appears. Although readers may skim over the small banner ad at the page’s headline, the larger mobile ad at the center of the page has a greater chance of drawing fans.
Mercedes-Benz mobile ads on The Cut
The top banner ad is a simple black bar that reads “The next-generation 2014 S-Class” with a small picture of the model and invites the consumer to learn more. Mercedes’ banner ad at the page’s footer is an exact replica of the headline banner ad.
Slightly further down the page, the middle mobile ad appears against a greyish-brown background. Interestingly, this ad is for the automaker’s 2014 C-Class, not the S-Class, and includes the starting price and invites the consumer to learn more and find a nearby dealer.
Although the brand is promoting two models rather than one, it risks the chance of taking attention away from the higher-priced S-Class.
Mercedes-Benz C-Class mobile ad
Mercedes’ decision to promote two models on the same page may prove beneficial as the different models appeal to distinct demographics. By providing content for both the established and up-and-coming readers of The Cut, Mercedes may see an increased number of click-throughs.
A click-through on the top and bottom S-Class banner ads brings consumers to the Mercedes’ Web site. The Web site includes a video brochure, photo galleries of the exterior, interior and media campaigns, detailed information of the design, performance and technology of the sedan series as well as a build-your-own model simulator.
S-Class Web site
Mercedes’ larger mobile ad also redirects to the automaker’s Web site where the 2014 CLA model appears at the top of the page. A click-through on explore pulls up the car’s Web site section where the consumer can browse model-specific information.
Mercedes has an extensive digital presence that continually draws new consumers and fans to the automaker.
For example, Mercedes is looking out for owners with a 24/7 roadside assistance application that guides drivers through difficult situations such as flat tires and locked doors.
The new app offers a slew of features such as the ability to request mechanical assistance and joins a growing body of the brand’s mobile efforts. By creating apps with highly specific purposes, the brand is likely to strengthen relationships with brand loyalists and discover new mobile niches (see story).
In addition, the automaker invited five of Instagram’s most lauded users to ignite interest in the CLA model among young consumers by touring the United States in the vehicle.
The automaker is opening up the journey to a sixth entrant who will be selected by the five recognized photographers to boost fan interest in the promotions. The contest will likely appeal to Generation Y consumers through using Instagram and allowing fans to participate in the campaign (see story).
Mercedes' mobile ad strategy may have been used as a test to study consumer interest in the two models.
"Placing two different ads on one page allows Mercedes to see which of the two ads is more alluring the end user," Ms. Lowy said.
"Since they are being placed to the same viewer at the same time many of the variables that might affect the end result are removed," she said.
"Mercedes can more directly analyze whether their mobile ad placements on The Cut should focus more on the basic CLA models or on the more extravagant S-Class series."
Jen King, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York