Mercedes Dangles 'Generation-Benz' In Front Of Gen Y

Mercedes-Benz USA wants an invited group of Gen Y netizens to open up about the brand. So it is running a social networking marketing program called Generation-Benz, intended to bring younger consumers into the brand while giving Mercedes insights about the 20-somethings.

The site, at www.GenerationBenz.com, via L.A.-based firm Passenger, is an invitation-only forum by which the company will mine the Gen-Y attitudes, lifestyle and brand preferences. The company says that with the new program it hopes to get a new group of consumers into the brand and shape the brand for the future.

Said Stephen Cannon, Mercedes-Benz U.S.A.'s VP/Marketing, in a release: "When our customers join the brand, they tend to stay. Our Generation-Benz community is a natural extension of our desire to broaden the Mercedes-Benz family, and establish a dialogue with future buyers to guide us with the design of our vehicles and direction of our brand."

The company wants feedback and perspectives on vehicles, brand positioning and sociocultural trends. The netizens will preview advertising and marketing campaigns, and engage in real-time discussions.

Mercedes-Benz is the second automaker to conceive and execute such a program. Ex-sibling Chrysler this March launched a similar program, also via Passenger. Chrysler's Customer Advisory Board comprised some 2,000 consumers.

Justin Cooper, co-founder, chief marketing and innovation officer at Passenger, says the scope is similar for all of the firm's clients. "With Mercedes, it's how they apply it." He says that the majority members of Mercedes' site are actually non-owners of Mercedes-Benz vehicles.

Cooper says that the firm has signed another automaker to create a similar program.

Tags: automotive
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