Mercedes-Benz topped L2’s 2014 Digital IQ Index: Auto as the only Genius brand in the study. With Instagram contests, user-generated content, in-car device connectivity and a touch-friendly mobile-optimized site, Mercedes-Benz proved it has a grasp on how to connect with a young audience.
The most notable effort was the “Take The Wheel” Instagram contest, which won a Shorty award. For the launch of its CLA, a $30,000 vehicle made to appeal to a younger generation, Mercedes-Benz asked five of Instagram’s best photographers to spend five days driving a CLA. They each documented their journey with six photos a day and the winner would keep the car. The campaign was a success: 87 million impressions for the CLA launch page and 12 million views for the campaign trailer.
Another Instagram contest “GLA Packed” asked Instagram influencers to show how they would pack for a dream road trip with objects placed against the GLA cargo mat. These contests have paid off; Mercedes-Benz has the third largest Instagram community of brands in the L2 Index with 844,812 followers.
In addition to making over its image through social media channels, Mercedes-Benz has made its cars more desirable to a connected audience. Users can access apps and GPS on internet-connected dashboard mbrace without having to dock their phone. The brand’s partnership with Pebble has led to a smartwatch that keeps track of the car and leads users to their parking location.
Overall, Mercedes-Benz’s rise to Genius and top of the Index suggests reinvention campaigns are most effective when both products and media tactics evolve.