- Mercedes-Benz is celebrating the 130th anniversary of the first long-distance drive with a short film on IGTV, marking the first cinematic production to be featured on the video platform that Instagram launched in June, according to a statement shared with Mobile Marketer.
- The car brand and agency R/GA released "The First Driver" on Mercedes' social channels. The two-minute clip — shot in black and white to evoke the nostalgia and emotion of the groundbreaking journey — tells the true story of how Bertha Benz, wife of inventor and Mercedes-Benz founder, Karl Benz, drove more than 60 miles across Germany on an impromptu road trip to showcase the car brand's first automobile.
- The video honors Bertha's momentous drive and how it kick-started the auto industry. Bertha's feedback from the trek also helped shape the design and development of later Benz models.
With "The First Drive," Mercedes aims to connect with consumers by leveraging fresh mobile video platforms and a dash of nostalgia, while honoring the brand's history and early female innovators. The car brand appears to be extending a reach to younger audiences by serving up content where those consumers spend time online and enhancing its storytelling capabilities in a format that might resonate with younger users. It's unclear how the carmaker will use the platform beyond "The First Drive," or if it plans to develop additional content specifically for IGTV down the line. Simply testing the platform in its first few months could lead to future business and audience development opportunities.
Mercedes is among the brands that are trying out IGTV as a promotional platform since Instagram launched the long-form video hub this year to compete more directly with YouTube. Rum brand Bacardi in June created what it said was the first music video directed entirely by Instagram users in real time. The "Live Moves" video featured dancing duo Les Twins and premiered on IGTV as part of the rum brand's broader "Do What Moves You" campaign. Companies like Chipotle, National Geographic and Nike also began testing the platform as more consumers seek out longer-form video content online.
Still, IGTV needs to help publishers and brands monetize their content on the platform to encourage long-term use. Female-focused publisher Stylist quit IGTV after a couple of months to focus on Apple News, which has been a bigger money maker. Instagram has yet to announce when or whether IGTV will be available for monetization, but if Facebook's history is any guide, that may happen in three to six months after the social media company has studied audience growth and behavior, sources told Digiday.
Mercedes has had an active year with promotions that merge social media with other advertising channels before this week's release of "The First Drive." The carmaker kicked off 2018 with a Super Bowl promotion that challenged mobile users to hold a finder on an image of a new car model for as long as possible. The promotion had technical difficulties, forcing the company to apologize to those who had registered for the game. Mercedes then converted the contest into a sweepstakes, with everyone who registered for the game automatically entered into a random drawing.