- Mercedes-Benz wants Super Bowl viewers to look at their smartphones instead of the TV with a mobile contest that will test their endurance. The luxury carmaker is giving away a sporty AMG C43 Coupe to the mobile user who keeps a finger pressed on a streaming video of the car that drives across the smartphone screens during the game, per a statement shared with Mobile Marketer.
- The “Last Fan Standing” contest is a mobile variation of the “hands on a hardbody” promotions by auto dealers that give a free car to the last person who keeps their hands on it. Mercedes said the contest will test the stamina and determine of smartphone users as the car maneuvers through challenging terrain and obstacles. The game has an open-ended completion time that could take days.
- A live counter will show the number of remaining contestants as they drop out, and how long they’ve managed to hang onto the C43, which retails for $55,900. Mercedes will promote the contest starting this weekend with teaser videos on YouTube, Instagram and Twitter, telling viewers the only need is “your phone, a finger and focus,” per Variety. Digital ad agency R/GA created the mobile promotion for Mercedes.
Instead of running a high-priced Super Bowl ad, Mercedes-Benz is going for an “ambush campaign” that seeks to engage viewers on mobile phones, which are as popular as TV among younger audiences measured by Nielsen. R/GA created the “Last Man Standing” experience to resonate with the millennial audience and tap into the growing audience of high-earning young gamers, per a statement.
Mercedes-Benz isn’t running a TV commercial in this year’s Super Bowl, whose ad rates are said to be $5 million for a 30-second spot. Traditionally, brands kick off major campaigns with the event, which last year reached 111.3 million people on Fox’s broadcast. Considering that viewership of NFL games fell 9.7% during the regular season from a year earlier, brands needs to consider additional ways of engaging audiences who supplement their TV viewing with mobile devices.
Mercedes-Benz isn’t alone in its mobile-based promotions for this year’s big game. The National Football League and developer Rovio Entertainment partnered to let video game players of "Angry Birds 2" and "Angry Birds Evolution" outfit their characters with jerseys and helmets from the league's 32 teams. M&M's candy debuted a social media sweepstakes as part of its return to running a 30-second commercial during the Super Bowl. Avocados From Mexico partnered with Inmoji to create clickable, branded emoji icons as part of its digital campaign leading up to the game.
Mercedes-Benz's mobile campaign doesn’t necessarily mean that the carmaker is abandoning the Super Bowl after running ads during the four times before. Next year, Super Bowl LIII will be held in Atlanta at Mercedes-Benz stadium, which might coincide with the brand’s return to TV.