Mercedes-Benz Bets on Upcoming World Cup to Improve Youth Appeal

The World Cup is just days away, and Mercedes-Benz is looking to strike while the iron is hot by putting an aggressive ad and incentive campaign to work during the high-profile soccer extravaganza.

Determined to grow its young customer base, Mercedes has furthered its partnership with the German national soccer team and will go on the advertising offensive during the World Cup. This year, Mercedes will offer tournament-specific incentives related to the performance of the German team, with leasing customers eligible to be paid as much as 319 euros ($380) if Germany wins the illustrious World Cup title. Significant but unspecified discounts and financing rates will be available, which, according to Automotive News, are some of the "most extensive [promotion] in 20 years."

"The promotion is very sympathetic and the partnership between Mercedes and the Germany's premium football team fits together very well," said Thomas Rosier, managing director of dealer Autohaus Rosier GmbH in Oldenburg.

According to the AN report, up to 2050 euros ($2443) could be lopped off the price of a SLK-Class roadster, with prices to continue to fall the further the German team advances. Mercedes expects the lower prices and accompanying ad blitz to appeal to the younger demographic, a group that is, according to German market researcher Sinus Sociovision, about a decade younger than the average Mercedes customer. Conversely, primary Audi and BMW consumers are within this desired age range.

"It's certainly necessary to make the Mercedes brand more youthful," said Stefan Bratzel, director of the Center of Automotive at the University of Applied Sciences in Bergisch Gladbach, Germany.

As World Cup action occurs in South Africa, Mercedes won't be sitting on its laurels back home. Matches will be shown on dealer TVs and special-edition postage stamps are being released. Mercedes is also sponsoring a fan website and has commissioned German soccer legend Franz "Der Kaiser" Beckenbauer to promote the brand via radio ads. Beckenbauer knows how to win on the big stage and Mercedes will look to tap his success.

The perennial favorite Brazilian and surging Spanish teams share 4-1 odds and are favored to reach the final matchup. Germany, on the other hand, holds 14-1 odds of winning it all and is grouped with Australia, Ghana, and Serbia for the opening round. All odds are determined by U.K.-based bookmaker William Hill.

Global soccer fever kicks off on June 11, and for those who have forgotten, Germany finished third behind France and champion incumbent Italy in 2006.

"Football is a classless, ageless sport in Germany," said Willi Diez, head of the Germany-based Institute for Automobile Industry, a state-funded think tank. "It speaks to a broad audience."

Source: Automotive News (Subscription required)

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