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Mercedes-Benz USA



Creative Development, Creative Direction, Content Strategy, 

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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, and 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. We'd noticed that even potato-quality photos of real cars in real places outperformed CGI; armed with that insight, we decided to build our own influencer program—a first for the auto industry.


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. 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.

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