Mercedes: Reckless Driving Is Smarter

Here’s a particularly egregious bit of "open road" propaganda from Mercedes. In this ad, currently airing in US markets, a new Benz GLK whips through the narrow streets of what appears to be a small European village, the inhabitants of which are reduced to slo-mo scenery.

As the narrator talks up the GLK’s "smarter" performance features, considering the potential real-world outcomes, we’re left to wonder if it might be smarter to avoid spreading the notion that drivers can wield your company’s SUV with absolute control.

What if, instead of constantly relying on depictions of dangerous driving to sell cars, Mercedes and other auto-makers tried promoting utilitarian, responsible vehicle use? Now that would be brilliant.

  • This ad gave me chills the first time I saw it, and it still upsets me. There are two scary things about it. One, the car is moving through streets so narrow that there’s literally no room for a pedestrian or biker — if you were in that street with that car, you’d have no way of evading it. And the car is literally racing at high speeds. This ads turns what should be car-free streets (because they’re too narrow to function any other way) into killing machines. Shudder.

  • anonymous

    Yeah, ok, they shot the whole thing at 3 MPH and then sped it up for the commercial. We’re all real impressed.

  • Based on the cathedral, a helpful Yahoo Answerer has placed the ad in the Tuscan town of Chiusi.

  • Notice that at 15, he has to slow down a bit to steer around a stone block by the side of the road. No doubt, someone put it there as a traffic-calming device. They need more of the same.

  • Charles Siegel, that looks like steps into a house than a calming device.

    Mark Walker, chills, really? Its a car ad. They’re talking about how its smaller than other SUVs and handles well. Its a very well done ad. It’s a fantasy ad, not an instructional video.

  • Given that’s clearly Italy, that car is actually going to have to deal with the realities of italian driving, which means the oncoming car with the driver on the phone and the police car parked round the blind corner. If they did try driving like that, their car would come out worse. The fact it still has wing mirrors shows it is a tourist.

  • i’m confused. what was it that you had expected from a car commercial then?

  • I love German cars but this commercial is clearly reckless and I had the same exact thought when I first saw it. Almost as bad as those Ford commercials last year that had Derek Jeter and Spike Lee racing around the streets of NYC with the rear ends fishtailing at every turn.

    I bet this was made exclusively for the American market. If this add ran in Germany or elsewhere in Europe there would be a riot.

    On the opposite end of the spectrum however the Euros often allow race cars and motorcycles to go full tilt through towns like in World Rally Championship events and the Isle of Man TT. People, including spectators die in these events every year but at least they are willing participants who are aware of the risk (yes, even the spectators are “willing” to a degree).

  • Rich Wilson

    I seem to remember a MBZ add that showed guys driving TO a hurricane to surf.

    At least they weren’t endangering anyone other than themstupidselves.

  • Alex from Minneapolis

    Glad to see I’m not the only person annoyed by this ad.

  • Riley

    Automobile manufacturers’ extensive research repeatedly confirms the bad news: the realities of automobile ownership and operation are — at best — unsaleable.

    That’s why automobile advertising eschews those realities in favor of unfulfillable fantasies involving single cars “flying” down roads “uncluttered” with other cars, red lights, and pedestrians or cyclists.

    Observe, too, that now even that’s not enough: The most current generation of automobile ads eschew actual cars in favor of computer generated graphics of cars doing very un-carlike things…

  • The ad makes a point of showing how the side view mirrors of this petite SUV! just clear a stone wall of the old town center, reinforcing the notion that the car shouldn’t really be there. And the tinted windows can’t hide the fact apparently one person is inside. Hey: you could have least given folks a ride to the church at the top of hill, where it naturally parks right by the front door, diagonally. What’s it tell you about a car ad when most other signs of city life must be removed in order to make your vehicle look good?

  • Hi,

    The benefits of learning the Driving Defensive Courses are we can improve our driving skills. And there is a chance of avoiding the road accidents.

    – Kate.

  • This kind of blogs are really important for new teenage drivers. Traffic Ticket Dismissal provides good defensive driving courses for the safety of the new drivers.

    hope to see more interesting posts hear on.

  • Este tipo de enlaces son muy importantes para los nuevos conductores adolescentes. Infracción de tráfico Despido ofrece buenos cursos de manejo defensivo para la seguridad de los nuevos controladores.

  • I don’t see the problem?



DOT Issues Voluntary Guidelines for Driver-Distracting Electronics Systems

Distracted driving has become one of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s banner issues under secretary Ray LaHood’s tenure, with agencies launching safety programs and awareness campaigns aimed at preventing the practice. Last week, LaHood stepped into new territory by recommending that cars be built to automatically disable potentially distracting electronic devices when in motion. The […]

Pirro: Why Not Make Reckless Driving into Your Issue?

Republican lobbyist and convicted tax-evader Albert J. Pirro is the husband of Jeanine F. Pirro, the law-n-order Westchester prosecutor and Republican candidate for state Attorney General. Albert was busted the other day in White Plains for doing 51 in a 25 mph school zone – just two months after being clocked at 98 in a […]

Smart Para-Transit + Car Sharing = No Reason to Own a Car

Here is part four of Mark Gorton’s essay, "Smart Para-Transit: A New Vision for Urban Transportation." The Smart Para-Transit system I have described would be capable of replacing many of the automobile trips in the New York area. However, by itself, it would be insufficient to completely replace the need to own a car for […]