The new Mercedes-Benz CLA sedan is sure to make a splash during its upcoming Super Bowl commercial, but the teaser video starring supermodel Kate Upton doesn't bode very well. At all.
Mercedes is aiming the new CLA compact sedan squarely at Generation Y, to skew younger and capture a growing segment of upwardly-mobile college grads pulling themselves out of the recession. If they can steal customers from the likes of Ford, it’ll be a big hit. But Mercedes needs to appeal to buyers with color in their hair – not exactly their forte.
An easy way to do that is to use celebrities that are hot right now, and Mercedes has tapped singer Usher along with Upton to do just that. Basically, anything that Upton does is Internet gold, from her impromptu Dougie at a Clippers game two years ago to the Cat Daddy that is, frankly, not safe to view at work. She also covered the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition before she’s able to order a Cosmo, so she’s a lightning rod if you’re trying to look cool in 2013.
But not like this.
Mercedes is calling this video a teaser, which is fortunate, because if this were the actual Super Bowl ad they would accomplish the incredible feat of not only failing to use Kate Upton make the CLA look cool, but actually making Upton herself look uncool. It’s awkward, baseless and looks like it was shot just outside of a Bakersfield prison. None of that screams “Success” to Gen Y, I can assure you.
All of this could have been easily covered up under the premise of the biggest supermodel on the planet washing a car in slow motion, because we men are simple creatures who will buy a cheeseburger if Paris Hilton tells us to. It wouldn't have been very interesting or artful, but it probably would have received a passing grade.
But not only does Upton not do exactly what the video says she’s going to do, she comes off as trying real hard to Be Super Sexy instead of doing it naturally. This is not easy to do outside of a Bakersfield prison, for a lady or a car, and it gives the impression that the Mercedes-Benz CLA is trying to Look Super Cool, instead of actually being it.
Younger generations may be susceptible to materialistic advertising, but they’re also much better at sniffing out inauthenticity. Why does Upton just happen to be standing at the most rundown highway shoulder ever? How did she get a handful of suds from 30 feet away? And is No. 93 using My First Firehose or something?
With the over-dramatic tossed hair, cheesy stripper music and God-awful “You missed a spot” line, it actually kind of works as a parody, a rejection of the bikini-catfight crap that brands like Miller Lite have been churning out for more than a decade now. Would Upton have been down to risk her image for that, though? Probably not. And Mercedes shouldn’t be, either, or else they’re about to ruin a pretty easy touchdown.