[Thoughts] Mercedes Benz Fake Commercial

One of the ads that caught my interest two months ago is a fake Mercedes Benz commercial made by a group of film students from the Film Academy in Luwigsburg. Setting aside the morality question of the ad, I personally think it is a brilliant commercial with a very creative perspective.

I would say there are 2 things that make this ad really captivating:

  • Great visual effect and music choice: The quality shooting of this ad is non-arguable. I think we can all agree that every scene is captured beautifully with careful intention, as expected from film students. The shooting angles, the smoky background, the lightning, the gloomy-yet-artistic atmosphere, the actors, all those elements are integrated gracefully to create a picture of Germany in the past. And in that picture, Mercedes Benz simply stands out as a powerful and compelling force with every of its move. The last scene, especially, is spectacular with the image of young Hitler lying on the ground and creating a Nazi symbol. You probably also notice how the music accelerates near the end of the ad.  I think the song accompanies the plot very well and I just simply like it. Nevertheless, commercials for cars have always been praised for high shooting quality, so in that aspect, this ad is not something new.
  • Interesting and controversial concept: What I love about this ad is how those students take the tagline “Detect dangers before they come up” to a deeper meaning level. What if the Collision-Prevent-Assist-System were developed ages ago? What if it could look into future and had a soul to judge good and bad? In that scenario, “dangers” are not just about physical obstacles on the road but also about what will actually harm people in future. The ad showcases that Mercedes Benz does not just detect and avoid dangers, it eliminates the root of dangers before they even occur. I think it is very daring to humanize Mercedes Benz’s system to such an omnipotent level. The morality, however, is debatable. The fact that the car hit on a young boy is in no way appropriate, but is it justifiable if killing one can save thousand lives later? It is a tough philosophical question, and that somehow makes this commercial even more meaningful. Some people might think the ad is disturbing, but I find it more thought-provoking. It is controversial but not in a lame and shallow way like other overly sexual or racist ads out there.

Nevertheless, I would say it is a smart ad as it definitely captures viewers’ attention and has already gone viral. Funny thing, although Mercedes Benz called the ad “inappropriate”, they did not try to take it down. Give or take, I think they are actually happy to receive this free publicity. People may like or dislike the ad, but at least they are now aware of Mercedes Benz’s Collision-Prevent-Assist-System.

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