Creative Development, Creative Direction, Content Strategy,
Challenge: The social assets we were getting from corporate in Stuttgart weren't playing well with the audience. And who could blame them? It was all lifeless CGI staged on either the surface of the moon or the set of Zardoz, with no narrative behind it much less a reason. Plus it wasn't growing our audience or doing our engagement any favors, either. So how do we fix this?
Solution: Break away from corporate and do our own thing. For one, we'd noticed even potato-quality photos of real cars in real places outperformed CGI. For another, I saw this as my chance to pitch a travel- and storytelling-driven content series and—drawing on my high school debate team experience—I managed to sell through the idea.
Result: The ongoing program, #MBphotopass. By hiring Instagram photographers with unique aesthetics and solid followings—even if they weren't the biggest names out there—we got images that not only jumped out from the auto industry's usual recycled CGI and PR shots, but actually took the audience on adventures. The S-Class introduced lesser-known parts of L.A.; a 1955 300 SL explored the Renaissance; a G-Class told the story of first lady Nellie Taft. It boosted the social cred of MBUSA in the eyes of our audience, brought in new followers who had initially only followed the photographer, and boosted the social cred of the photographers themselves. Win-win-win, and much more cost-effective than hiring the nearest available Kardashian. The rest of the auto industry liked it so much, they cribbed the idea.