Mercedes: Reckless Driving Is Smarter

Here’s a particularly egregious bit of "open road" propaganda from Mercedes. In this ad, currently airing in US markets, a new Benz GLK whips through the narrow streets of what appears to be a small European village, the inhabitants of which are reduced to slo-mo scenery.

As the narrator talks up the GLK’s "smarter" performance features, considering the potential real-world outcomes, we’re left to wonder if it might be smarter to avoid spreading the notion that drivers can wield your company’s SUV with absolute control.

What if, instead of constantly relying on depictions of dangerous driving to sell cars, Mercedes and other auto-makers tried promoting utilitarian, responsible vehicle use? Now that would be brilliant.

  • MarkB

    The first time I saw that ad I had similar thoughts. It was bad enough when every off-roader out there was shown tearing up the countryside at 60mph+, doing 4-wheel drifts, leaving huge rooster tails where virgin land used to be, but now that style of “driving” has come to the city center. Pity the pedestrian, bicyclist, or child in the street when that Mercedes tears through.

    Car ads all seem to come in only a few flavors, none realistic:

    1. Off-roaders driving at ridiculous speeds tearing up virgin wilderness;

    2. A vehicle on an Angeles Crest Hwy -type road, which is, of course, absolutely empty for miles in every direction, the vehicle being driven at high speeds;

    3. A vehicle in a downtown that is devoid of any other cars, and generally pulling up to park right in front of the museum/theater/restaurant/whatever, and it is the only vehicle to park on the un-metered, non-red-curbed street.

    The Mercedes ad is a hybrid of #2’s driving style and #3’s location.

    There is a #4 style: Buy this car or [ you | your children | puppies ] die, but Volvo seems to have a lock on that style.

  • Will Campbell

    I think it was during the Oscars that I saw this ad. My wife looked at me sideways when I yelled at the TV and called bullshit on the ad. Glad I’m not the only one who found it retarded.

  • Mark B, regarding your type #3:

    I remember visiting MOCA on a Sunday once, and being amazed at how pristine and empty that part of Downtown seemed on the weekend. I think they were actually filming that type of car commercial not too far from the front of the Disney Concert Hall.


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