I don’t think Mercedes Benz expected that anything could go wrong with an advertisement featuring the beautiful Sports Illustrated cover model Kate Upton washing their CLA sports car. On paper it sounds like a great idea. A funny take on the “hot girl washes car” concept that’s been done successfully previously by Carl’s Jr./ Hardees who did it with Paris Hilton stuffing her face with a gigantic cheeseburger.
What’s wrong with the Mercedes ad? For starters it looks like a ten year old produced it. The camera work, the editing, and most importantly the script just fail to impress. Kate Upton looks downright frumpy.
So how do you fix this ad?
1) Sell the misdirection with a little more oomph.
The Paris Hilton ad plays on all your preconceived notions of what to expect from a “hot girl washes car” video. All the shots of her approaching the car put your mind in the schema of “hot girl washes car”. And then she starts eating a giant cheeseburger all over it and making a mess. Schema violated. Why not start the ad with Kate Upton in a robe filling up a bucket with soap. She could playfully blow bubbles and giggle as she got sprayed by the soap. If the goal was not to show skin, this could accomplish that. She could simply have her jean shorts and top on underneath the robe.
2) Change the title.
It feels like this should be called: How Kate Upton Washes A Mercedes. Why? It implies that she has some unique twist or method for washing this car and that helps set a hook right away.
3) Speed things up.
She stands there doing nothing, not showing off the car, not really being sexy or selling the story with an chutzpah for way too long. Give her something to do. Sell the joke. This is almost painfully awkward.
4) Make the reveal even more impressive.
After she’s done filling the bucket with soapy water in her robe. Have her remove her bath robe and reveal her regular clothes. As she picks up the bucket and walks towards the car pan the camera to show the drooling football team standing at the ready waiting to wash her car. She can give them the soap and then watch them wash the car allowing for the real parody to take place with the guys washing the car. Heck, you could even have the guys doing things traditionally associated with the “hot girl washes car” type videos. Maybe a guy accidentally gets sprayed and he washes and has to take his shirt off.
There’s a lot of fun that could have been had with this concept and that coupled with bravado associated with Mercedes leaking the ad early (a la Volkswagen Darth Vader) really invited the backlash.
And that’s how a dinosaur would fix Kate Upton Washes the All-New Mercedes-Benz CLA in Slow Motion.
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