One question many people have when we bring up the topic of brandscaping is, “How can my brand partner with other brands without our message getting lost or diluted?” Can you take two or more different brands with different products and values and unite them seamlessly? A great example is the latest Mercedes online cinematic video, Icons of Style. It’s branded as Mercedes but it also features Calvin Klein. The talents of Calvin Klein’s newest flagship model Lara Stone and the Women’s Creative Director for Calvin Klein Collection, Francisco Costa, are also featured. Icons of Style successfully highlights all the values of each partner while establishing something completely new and exciting and new. So even with a host other influences on the video, Mercedes still wins.
Mercedes as the anchor brand
Director Alex Prager described the video as Mary Poppins meets The Wizard of Oz meets James Bond. But it is also luxury car brand meets fashion brand meets fashion model meets filmmaker/photographer meets creative director meets fashion week. That is a lot of elements to swirl together into a tornado of effective online video. But Mercedes doesn’t lose anything in the mix. In fact, their message is enhanced by the partnership. Mercedes is the key brand on this project and the apparent key underwriter. They are launching their new SL roadster, and they are sponsors of fashion week, and they recently showcased their safety features in a video showing people suspended in air.
Making the Mercedes SL Roadster look even better
The SL looks absolutely stunning in the video. It has a smooth luxurious appearance that is unaffected by turbulence (or tornadoes). The presence of Calvin Klein reinforces the glamor of the car. It’s not just some convertible in the middle of the desert. The roadster makes a beautiful model look even more beautiful and vice versa.
A deeper connection between Fashion Week and Mercedes
The fashion week connection is very important. This video is a way for Mercedes, a longtime sponsor of many fashion weeks worldwide, to forge an even tighter connection with the world of fashion. Cinematically, both the fashion and the car styles are portrayed as being in the right place at the right time. You don’t ride your tornado if you’re a second late. This psychologically reminds people that fashions and car designs are about the present moment, the here and now. It gives a deeper logic and connectivity to the sponsorship. It reminds people that Mercedes and CK are on the cutting edge. It also reminds them that style is fleeting, so you better buy while the getting is good.
Mercedes and flying through the air
The third element is a very subtle connection to another key element of Mercedes’ branding — safety. The inexplicable motif of Lara Stone being taken up by the tornado, matches the vibe of the recent airbag commercial. But instead of being literal like the above commercial, Icons of Style is dream-like, which is appropriate for a car described thus on the Mercedes site:
Developed as a racecar, coveted as a sports car, the SL has always been, above all, a dream car.
Icons of Style is truly iconic
Mercedes loses nothing in the brand partnership. In fact, they gain much. What’s even better is that the whole thing was shot in one day, including fashion stills. They were also able to extend the value with behind-the-scenes content and interviews with those involved. It’s on brand, on target, and wholly efficient. Not only does the brandscaping model allow brands to pool their resources, but the convergence of different values can add a focus that wouldn’t normally be there. By looking carefully at the intersection of brands and talent, you set parameters that will inspire whole new avenues of creativity. So ride the tornado.