Mercedes-Benz Malaysia’s new Chinese New Year spot does not seem to be striking gold in the world of social.
In fact “terrible”, “meaningless”, “low class” and “a waste of money” are just some of the words netizens have used to describe the latest ad. The ad, which is posted on Mercedes Benz Malaysia's official Facebook last Friday, has so far collected more than 125,700 views with over 450 comments, at the time of writing.
One user said, "Mercedes Benz is supposed to stand for excellence. And this ad totally destroys that credibility. How on earth was it approved? Who is your agency?"
Watch the spot below to find out what prompted these comments:
And okay if you haven’t got the time to actually watch the minute long clip, here’s what happened:
A couple sit in the car talking about the protagonist's strained relationship with his brother. And then, when a parking spot opens up, using the park assist the lady parks her car. Upon stepping out of the car, the man sees his brother. Cue ancient Chinese music. The spot ends.
Since then, despite the backlash, the brand has launched yet another spot. A couple sit in a car discussing their purchases and plans for the new year. The car comes to a halt at the red light, and when the light turns green, they move, only to be halted back because of the collision prevention assist function. Sounds harmless right? Except when you watch the actors casted. Check it out:
The spot launched just yesterday has 84 shares and over 180 reactions. One user said: "Great job Mercedes and the ad agency. Hope ya'll win a Kancil for yourself this year."
A+M has asked the brand why it has decided to go ahead with the launch of the second spot.
However, with regard to the entire campaign idea, Mark Raine, vice president, sales and marketing passenger cars, Mercedes-Benz Malaysia said the social media clips “compliments the overall campaign taking on a different angle with a humorous and light-hearted twist”. He added, especially on social media, the platform lends itself to communicating with a wider audience while using material “with a more real-life touch and feel” as opposed to filming a full-fledged TVC.
“In general, we intend to create awareness for our brand, products and services taking different and fresh approaches,” he added.
Whatever Mercedes-Benz Malaysia's intent might be, we decided to ask a few creative agency friends on their take of the ad.
One prominent ECD at an MNC described the ad as having "no class". He added there are few factors on why this ad doesn’t bode well with the audience.
First, it’s the low quality production of the video which doesn’t match with the classic branding of Mercedes Benz of a high quality car brand.
“On top of that, the overall production looks cheap with its script not crafted well, as well as wrong casting for the actors who also do not seem to deliver well," he said. He added that if you are advertising or talking about a premium quality car brand like Mercedes Benz, it needs to reflect that quality in the ad itself.
“Likewise, if we’re talking about cheaper car like Perodua, chances are people are more likely to accept a lower quality ad," he said.
Another ECD who also wanted to remain anonymous shared a similar sentiment. He said the story line brings no surprises nor twists in addition to a poor acting and filming skill.
Calling this a 'painful' ad, he explained:
The company may have lost a great opportunity to create meaningful content during this festive period, in an attempt to save cost.
He added such low quality films no longer cut it with the Malaysian audience especially because modern Malaysians are globalised and are used to seeing beautiful stories coming from brands locally and globally.
"To create something meaningful, you really need to invest in the right people and talents such as a good scriptwriter and someone who can foresee the brand's vision,” he said. The key lesson here, he said, is to spend money wisely and don't be penny-wise and pound-foolish.
Low budget doesn’t mean no budget
With the rise of user generated content, and the availability of easy to use filming technology, many might be inclined to believe that making a 30 second clip no longer requires the eye of an expert. But experts advice otherwise.
"Some clients with lower budget think that video content is something that's easily done. But not every one with a video camera can shoot something and not everybody's a storyteller. This particular ad looks like a really really low production - it's like a script written by procurement, everything's about money," he added.
Another creative expert added that, a brand has to realise that every tactical thing and every piece of content counts.
"These are the little pillars which are crucial in building a particular brand. Everything you do is a reflection of who you are as a brand and how you think - this very ad is just not doing them any favour."