Creative solutions from Mercedes-Benz, Current Energy and Harlequin/NASCAR/Office Depot

Microsite fashions a unique partnership

Mercedes-Benz wanted to increase awareness of and engagement with its brand. The challenge was finding the right way to communicate the brand’s commitment to style, high design and luxury while still engaging a Web 2.0 user that expects innova­tive and exclusive content. The car company was also looking to target female car buyers, who typi­cally respond best to compelling visuals.

Mercedes-Benz became a global sponsor of FashionWeek in the spring of 2007. The luxury car com­pany launched a microsite at in partnership with Omnicom-owned digital mar­keting agency Critical Mass. The site showcases runway shows and leading designers in concert with its own glamour shots of the luxury car and exclusive content.

Driving show attendees to the site’s behind-the-scenes videos and photo galleries through print collateral and signage at the event, Mercedes-Benzkept the microsite up for a year after the show. It then refreshed the content for the 2008 spring Fashion Week events.

“The real tough challenge was to marry the style and design of a fashion site to portray a car site,” explains Taro Ramberg, VP at Critical Mass. “These fashions are on the leading edge, andwe wanted to highlight the same qualities in the vehicles themselves.”

The site features interactive Flash functionality and content about Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week venues in New York, Miami and Los Angeles.

The microsite received 200,000 unique visits, resulted in 13,000 qualified leads and influenced at least 650 sales. Its visual motif was extended to Fashion Week on-site décor and fixtures, as well as in print ads, show literature and direct response efforts. Critical Mass expects a similar amount of sales leads and visits this year.
-Cara Wood

Current Energy
Hand addressing energizes results

Approach: In November, energy consulting company Current Energy tapped lead genera­tion firm Farstar to develop a campaign to in­crease foot traffic and brand awareness for the flagship store, which also sells energy-efficient tech products. More than 14,000 hand-addressed mailers were sent to consumers in the neighborhood surrounding the store, located on Knox Street in Dallas. The mail­ings drove recipients to a personalized URL microsite, which provided holiday gift ideas and encouraged people to visit the store to register to win a Segway i2 Commuter or a home energy assessment.

Results: Of those who received the mailing, 29.6% visited the microsite and 22.5% came into the store.
-Mary Hurn

Harlequin/NASCAR/Office Depot
Sweepstakes drives engagement

Approach: As the partnership between women’s fiction publisher Harlequin and auto-racing league NASCAR entered its third year, the two entities were looking for a new way to engage fans. The “Say yes to a winning pro­posal” contest let fans submit marriage propos­als to; a winner will have his or her declaration of love featured on the back of driver Carl Edwards’ Office Depot Ford Fusion during the NASCAR All-Star race, among other prizes.

Results: The contest started on Valentine’s Day and ended March 31. At press time, 514 submissions were reported.
-Nathan Golia

Matthew Gyulay, SVP, creative director, Wunderman Toronto

Is there a more fashion-worthy brand than Mercedes Benz? This site brilliantly presents the brand as a platform or, more specifically, as an accessory to the high fashion it presents. I’m a sucker for a hand-addressed envelope. So are many others. They work and so does this one for Farstar. But there isn’t enough to make me say it was worth it when I got to the site, other than great odds on winning a Segway. Nothing says “I love you” like pure octane. Not in NASCAR, anyway. Office Depot is not only on target, but it’s built on a particularly keen insight. It’s hard to wrap your head around the partnership, but I’ll lay odds that the message went straight to middle American romantics.

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