Mercedes-Benz USA's Tweet-Fueled Race Crosses The Finish Line In Time For "Welcome" At The Super Bowl
OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE
Montvale, USA, Feb 08, 2011
When Wisconsin residents Todd Sanders and co-driver John Pedersen crossed the finish line in Dallas as part of the world's first Tweet-fueled race, Mercedes-Benz USA's (MBUSA) groundbreaking social media initiative – he had generated some 43,000 tweets over a three-day period with fans signed up through MBUSA's Facebook page to be part of "Team S" and support them on their 1,500-mile journey.
The Tweet Race
The Tweet Race, which took place February 2 - 4 as MBUSA prepared to air its very first Super Bowl ad, consisted of four two-person teams departing from four different cities in specially outfitted Mercedes-Benz vehicles. With tweets propelling them to the finish line and celebrity coaches cheering them on, the teams raised over $120,000 for charities.
Team S -- driving an S400 HYBRID and "coached" by Black Cards frontman Pete Wentz -- was the victor and the spoils were the keys to two all-new 2012 C-Class Coupes, which will debut later this year. Beyond amassing points generated from the number of occasions their Twitter handle, assigned hashtag, or tweeted content was retweeted or replied to, Team S brought its total score to 131,643 by securing additional points through nine challenges which required them to do everything from marshalling fans in given locations to recording a 60-second commercial for the new 2011 S-Class they were driving to acting out part of their owner's manual to staging and photographing their vehicle as though in a fashion shoot.
Their first-place finish resulted in a donation of $45,000 from MBUSA and over $5,000 from their Tweeters/supporters to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, one of the world's premier pediatric cancer centers dedicated to finding cures and saving children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases. The other teams similarly raised money for good causes:
TEAM CL -- TV personality Layla Kayleigh of Studio City, CA and Julissa Bermudez from Los Angeles with the support of the legendary hip hop Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee Rev Run raised $25,000 for the Lower Eastside Service Center, which provides safe and structured residential environments for New Yorkers living with opioid dependency.
TEAM E -- Creative technologist Len Kendall and "renaissance man" John Morrison (both from Chicago) backed by New York Yankees outfielder and All-Star and World Series Champion Nick Swisher raised $25,000 for "Swish's Wishes," a charity that enriches lives and lifts the spirits of children with vital health issues, while providing care, comfort and support during difficult times.
TEAM GL -- Jennifer Marshall and Co-Driver Meredith Sinclair of Wilmette, IL with the help of thirteen-time Grand Slam Singles Champion and two-time Olympic Gold Medalist Serena Williams raised $25,000 for the Serena Williams Foundation which assists U.S. youth affected by violent crimes and helps provide quality educations to underprivileged high-school students.
The Twitter Race increased MBUSA's Facebook page fans by nearly 300% and established a Twitter following of over 70,000. Videos generated about the Tweet Race were viewed 2 million times, rising to a number two ranking according to Advertising Age's tracking of pre-Super Bowl viral videos.
"This was an amazing experience for us," said Stephen Cannon, vice president of marketing for MBUSA. "We wanted to do a great Super Bowl ad that would lay the groundwork for the all-new models we're introducing this year. At the same time, we knew we needed to build up a social media platform for models oriented to a younger buyer which we'll be introducing in the next two to three years. The Tweet Race was a strategic leap of faith in terms of not only allowing but encouraging people to engage with Mercedes-Benz on their own terms. So we were thrilled to see the enthusiasm and creativity people brought to it. And, while the Race is over, we see this as just the beginning of an ongoing conversation through these digital channels."
"The Tweet Race was a great success for us not just because it engaged such a broad audience with a reach of nearly 11 million but also because it allowed us to experiment in very innovative ways," said Bob Lord, CEO of Razorfish, MBUSA's digital agency behind the concept. "The campaign was packed with industry firsts from both a creative and a technology perspective, and truly pushed the boundaries of what is possible in harnessing the social graph."
The Tweet Race, with its journey of four Mercedes-Benz models across the U.S., was designed as a real-world way to bring to life a pilgrimage of epic proportions that would be unveiled during the Super Bowl with the debut of a 60-second ad called "Welcome." In this spot, hundreds of classic, historic and groundbreaking Mercedes-Benz vehicles from all around the world come to life in the quiet of the night and ride off without their owners. From the world's first patented automobile, to the models of today to a recyclable concept car that emits pure oxygen, all these Mercedes-Benz models converge to welcome the new CLS, C-Class Coupe, SLK roadster and SLS Roadster models that will join the Mercedes-Benz family later this year. The spot also features a guest appearance by Sean "Diddy" Combs, a longtime Mercedes-Benz enthusiast and Maybach owner.
The ad, which ranked the highest of all luxury automotive brands in the "2011 USA Today Super Bowl Ad Meter," was created by Merkley and Partners, MBUSA's advertising agency of record. "The Super Bowl is the biggest advertising stage in the world so the challenge was to develop a commercial that took advantage of the environment while also staying true to the core essence of the Mercedes-Benz brand. Also important was the need to showcase a 125-year heritage in a way that is not backward-looking but rather presents the new models as standing on the shoulders of giants. We think we did that with ‘Welcome' and the response to the spot certainly validates that we succeeded," said Alex Gellert, partner and CEO of Merkley & Partners.
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