Product placement insight from Mercedes-Benz


The movie version of the hit TV series Sex and the City opens in the UK later next month.

Stars of the show look like being the range of Mercedes-Benz vehicles as much as Carrie, Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte.

Yesterday’s Telegraph Motoring has a terrific feature on how and why Mercedes-Benz got involved.

Choice quotes from Ferdinand Froning, head of Mercedes’ Entertainment Liaison Office in Los Angeles:

[…] “This film was a no-brainer,” he announces […] talking about the existing sponsorship connection between Mercedes-Benz and the New York Fashion Show, which meant the film’s producers needed help from Mercedes to replicate the authenticity of the real show.

[…] This [film] is so influential, it’s the same cast as the TV series, the same crew. […] it’s women talking about sex,” admits Froning, “but that’s an iconic part of life and the show’s core audience is 30- to 45-year-old women, who are really hard to reach. There’s also a huge hidden audience of men in there as well. It fits heavily into fashion and design, and our existing sponsorship as part of the brand communications.”

[…] “We can never change a script,” says Froning, “but when we have a good relationship we start to think creatively about how the placement can be worked, there are a number of wrinkles that can be used.” In the case of Sex And The City, the script called for a recreation of the New York fashion show in Bryant Park, Manhattan, a feat that called for gentle finessing of the city authorities as well as persuading Mercedes in Stuttgart to reproduce all its product banners.

Having invested so much time and effort, Froning was determined to milk the last drop of the association. “Then we said, good, now what else can we do?” he says. “We were thinking May 2008, what have we got that comes out then? Ah yes, the GLK!” [pictured above] It took all of Froning’s powers of persuasion to get Mercedes-Benz in Germany to see the sense in releasing a secret prototype onto the streets of New York – and to get the film’s director to include this somewhat less than beautiful urban SUV. “It was great on set,” says Froning. “The car was late so all we had was the prototype with the side mirrors just stuck on to it. We had 12 security people and they tried to keep the car hidden so that nothing would leak out, but at some point we had to take the covers off and film the scene.”

It’s a fascinating story; read it all at Telegraph Motoring.

And if the GLK interests you, see the GLK-Class microsite for more information.

Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.