How Mercedes turned Millennials into brand advocates

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Mercedes' brand heritage dates back to 1886. Throughout the brand's history the luxury vehicles were geared towards people that had “made it” and could afford a car in the $40,000 and up range.

This spring, the brand changed things up with the release of their 2014 CLA, which has a starting price of $30,000. It's geared towards Millennials, a group that is typically still on their way to being successful.


It may sound really good when your brand is the one doing the talking, but it sounds a whole lot better and more people listen when you let evangelists do the talking for you. Mercedes went on the offensive across digital and social media channels to target Millennials, leveraging a combination of owned, earned and paid media, with influencers at the core, to reach their target demographic and drive advocacy. Here's how:

Owned media

Mercedes is using their owned social channels, from a microsite to Twitter to Facebook and Instagram to drive awareness around the #clatakethewheel campaign. Their owned media content strategy is being fueled largely by influencers with a large reach, that fit the persona of their target audience, and it is aggregated on Facebook, a channel loved by Millenials (according to SocialBakers, nearly 50% of Facebook's US audience ranges from 18 to 35). Toss in their consumer sweepstakes and content that's built for sharing and it's a recipe for success in social.


Paid media:

We could dedicate a whole post to the ways Mercedes is leveraging paid media to get the new CLA in front of Millennials, but lets stick to the basics. When I saw a targeted promoted post on in my Facebook newsfeed, which was probably because of my age or the fact that one of my friends likes Mercedes Benz USA on Facebook, paired with a slick piece of content, it hooked me and I shared it.

Earned media

The slick piece of content I mentioned wasn't just any piece of content. It was a video produced by Casey Niestat, who I first learned about in April 2012 around the Nike Make It Count campaign. He is the ultimate influencer of the Millenial set. He's cool, daring, just edgy enough but also as authentic as they come. He creates content people want to share, and all Mercedes had to do was give him a car and the opportunity to create a commercial for them.

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