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April 2009

Mercedes-Benz Website Appeals to the Senses

As someone who's always on the lookout for websites that are able to convey brand stories in a unique way, I was thrilled to come across the Mercedes-Benz website.

Not only does the website give you all the product information you could possibly need to make a purchase, it takes advantage of key elements of interactivity by engaging our senses and passion for storytelling.

The homepage to the brand's e-Class car features an interesting story in which four-time Grammy winner Dianne Reeves and Formula 1 driver and Grand Prix winner Jean Alesi are paired together in a car in order to test the car's "sensitivity" and sense of well-being provided during the driving experience. Just as the car is deemed to be a sensitive instrument, so too is the voice of singer Reeves. Deemed "Concert in E", the result is pure magic as Reeves and Alesi set out to the tune of "Better than Anything."

This highly interactive approach to brand storytelling is successful on several levels:

1) The use of film and sound draws us into the brand and makes us players in the brand story

2) The tune is catchy and increases our propensity for recall

3) During the performance, car features pop up giving us the opportunity to learn more about the brand

4) The approach confirms the message that the sensitivity and overall sense of well-being provided by the brand is similar to the sensitivity found in the human voice

Bravo Mercedes-Benz for this unique approach. You're truly a brand leader and automotive icon! (check out the link to Mercedes-Benz TV too).

What do you think of this approach to brand storytelling? Why don't more companies use elements of storytelling to sell their product or service?

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All A-Twitter About Twitter?

Call me boring - or call me old-fashioned...but is it possible to be TOO connected?

It seems that everyone lately is on Twitter. I get emails from people every day saying that they're on Twitter, and asking me if I'm on it as well. Politicians have entered the game and you can receive "tweets" from everyone from Mayor David Miller to President Barack Obama.

Twitter describes itself as "a service for friends, family, and co-workers to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent answers to one simple question: What are you doing?"

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As a new media specialist and marketing professional, I have a strong admiration for technology and its ability to engage communities all over the world. Finally, we all have a voice and most businesses are able to harness its tremendous power as a tool to showcase their products and services.

With this in mind, I can't help but ask one question: "Is it possible to be TOO connected?" While I like to keep in touch with friends and colleagues, do I really need to update them on my latest shopping trip or grocery list - or on the fact that my car is in for repair? And do they really want to know these things?

While technology has given us so much, I feel that some of us are losing a bit of ourselves in the process. Yes, it's cool to be updated on what people in your life are doing, but in an age that depends so much on interconnectivity - at what point does meaningful content become meaningless?

I'm not here to bash Twitter - and overall I think it's an interesting idea. I just wonder if maybe we're headed too much the other way.

So, what are you doing?

(For those of you who are interested, I'm spending the next week relaxing on a beach in Cuba. I'm taking a break from hyper-connectivity and am hoping the only "tweets" I hear are the ones singing on my balcony railing!)

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