Given that Super Bowl XLVII will be held in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, the luxury car company didn't have much of a choice when it came to nabbing a spot in one of the most coveted — and expensive — commercial breaks in the world.
"If there's ever such a thing as an eight-figure no brainer, this is it," Mercedes-Benz USA CEO Steve Cannon told Business Insider. And considering the 111 million sets eyes that will be watching the 60-second spot (a 30-second ad costs $3.8 million), Mercedes decided to go all out and sign Kate Upton and Usher to the project.
"Usually we don't use celebrities because frankly we don't need to, but if you step up to the Super Bowl stage you have to bring your A-Game," Cannon said, continuing to describe Upton as the perfect choice for the spot. "She's a young, fresh, relevant face, and the fact that she's the reigning cover model for the Sport's Illustrated Swimsuit Edition didn't hurt the decision."
While the ad has previously been described only as "a tongue-in-cheek depiction of how far a person might — or might not — go to get their heart’s desire,” Cannon gave BI more details about what Upton and Usher will be up to.
The Merkley + Partners created spot will be a series of vignettes, and "they're the kind of moments a lot of people would sell their soul for, moments you dream about," Cannon said.
For example, Cannon continued, "Imagine if you're a random Joe and have the opportunity to go clubbing with Usher."
And although some of the Super Bowl demographic might sell their soul for a moment with a bikini-clad Kate Upton dancing the cat daddy, Cannon says that that isn't going to be happening, "at least not in our spot ... this isn't a Carl's Junior kind of thing. We are not using her as a sexual object."
Rather, Upton will embrace her new, upscale persona as seen on her Vogue cover shoot.
"She's integrated into this red carpet celebrity moment with cameras flashing," Cannon said. "She's got a look and a job that puts her on the red carpet, and that's where we find her [in the Super Bowl spot]."
While Mercedes is steering clear of cleavage-filled, hyper-sexualized Super Bowl cliches, it also isn't going for the funny bone.
"It's upbeat, high-energy, fast-paced, but I won't call it funny," Cannon said, "not like 'Doritos dogs jumping into doors' funny. That's what's very typical in a Super Bowl ad, they go for the yuks."
The aspirational spot with young and buzz-worthy celebrities is meant to open a younger, Gen-Y audience's eyes to Mercedes' new CLA, which comes at a lower price-point than traditional models.
"It's hard to appeal to youth if your car costs $75K," Cannon said. "With this car, we are trying to make our car more available to a broader user." Although the actual cost won't be revealed for the fall-released car until the Super Bowl ad.
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