Mercedes-Benz Kills Adolf Hitler, World Rejoices (Except for Daimler)
While doing some digging on Mercedes news (and I had to dig deep because, well, there never is any) I stumbled upon a PR disaster that somehow slipped past me from August of this year: a commercial in which a C-Class model Mercedes-Benz kills Adolf Hitler as a child, preventing him from ever growing up and committing mass genocide and starting World War II. The only problem? Mercedes’ parent company, Daimler, did not create the spot and does not want to be associated with it. (It is pretty intense, so I’m not too shocked.)
In the eighty-second short, the C-Class model marches into a village in Germany, hell-bent on destroying the future führer. Using Mercedes’ innovative Collision Prevention Assist technology, it’s able to dodge other children in the town, but when it reaches young Adolf, well, the C-Class “detects dangers before they come up,” and POW, the führer is no more. Perhaps with a grin on its face, the C-Class leaves Adolf dead and sprawled out on the ground in the shape of—you guessed it—a swastika.
So if Daimler is not responsible for this intriguing yet strange (yet offensive maybe? I don’t really know) spot, then who is? Oh, you know, just a few German film students out to make a statement. And that statement, according to filmmakers Tobia Haase, Jan Mettler, and Lydia Lohse, is to investigate the morality of technology in modern society by pondering what machines would do if they had souls? The obvious answer is turn against Adolf Hitler and off him in a fittingly grotesque way.
Suffice it to say, Daimler was not too pleased to be associated with the commercial. As a result, the students were required to include disclaimers alerting audiences that the entire commercial is a spoof and is no way related to Daimler. Of course, the world loves controversy, so once Daimler required this, the video went viral. (Makes you wonder what would have happened had they left it alone…) In just a weekend, it apparently garnered 700,000 views, and since it went up in August, views have climbed above the 3,500,000 mark.
While it’s nowhere nearly as bad as the K-Mart PR fiasco from a few months back, it is still a pretty interesting spot. Check it out below and let me know what you think!
- Timothy MooreManaging Editor
Timothy Moore hails from Dayton, Ohio, and tries to bring that Midwestern flavor to his writing. (But as it turns out, no one really likes the Midwestern flavor.) He has been covering the auto industry for years, with several national auto shows under his belt, but he’s been writing about lots of other things (like dragons and Mickey Mouse and cows drowning in milk) since he was just a tot. Outside of the land of cars, Timothy enjoys watching The Office and consuming excessive amounts of peanut butter and beer, and is on the board of an up-and-coming Dayton theatre company called The Playground. And when he’s not on stage (or three jars into a peanut butter binge), Timothy spends time with his mischievous dog, Greyson. See more articles by Timothy.