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Terra incognita.

Adventure stories from uncharted terrain.

In 2013, Daimler started another expedition into uncharted terrain. Daimler organised an international design contest open to all comers, its title, ‘Design a Mercedes-Benz Golf Cart’. Pencil sharpeners buzzed around the globe, ballpoints squealed in their ink – and, in no time at all, the inbox was overwhelmed. Thousands of excited participants responded. Eyes radiated enthusiasm with a look that said, OK, when can we start? Where do I get my Golf Cart? On the surface, the company stayed as still as the grave. But, deep inside, the cogwheels began to turn – designers designed, model makers modelled and the whirr of electric screwdrivers was not to be overheard – in secret.

A sign of hope.

It took until May 2016 before anything actually became public. A mysterious film turned up on the web: a film of a determined elderly lady who searches for stars on her nighttime walk. But did she really snap off the Mercedes star to pimp her golf cart? And that in a film clip from Mercedes-Benz? People began to wonder. Is it the first of April? Is it a joke, or even a fake? No need to wonder, this was what happens when someone comes up with something entirely new – you take a big step and leave the familiar far behind. You ignore conventions. This is the spirit of true garage-startups – just like Herr Daimler in the garden house of no.13, his villa in the Taubenheimstrasse. As Daimler Business Innovation (BI) began looking for a concept for the Golf Car campaign, it soon became obvious that the way ahead would be an expedition into uncharted terrain.
It was also perfectly clear that the expedition team would have follow a compass of established values. BI got together with the golf pros from communications and marketing to write short stories that emotively pinpointed what was needed with the intelligent manner typically expected from the premium brand. In the run-up to the grand premiere, it was alright to just hint at the secret, but the big picture still had to be kept under wraps. Oracles and prophets were the order of the day. Anyone who could conjure up a ray of hope for the world. People pinned their hopes on the elderly lady and dreamed of their own Golf Car with Mercedes-Benz style.

Hints and clues.

This is how the message was brought to the waiting world. Instead of slapping the idea on the table and saying ‘Here you are’, BI revealed the story very subtly and gradually, page by page. This is how the details of the Golf Car emerged: To start with, just a flash of the headlights in the dark. Fingertips hovering over the controls for the lights. A visual appetiser.
The excitement was intensified by a silhouette of the Golf Car with a flash of reflected light. Hints and clues were allowed; the true facts remained a secret. The plan generated desire for the unobtainable – like a forbidden fruit hanging way out of reach in the darkness. Although no one had ever seen it, everyone knew what it was: a real sports car.

Revelations – it’s ‘a real sports car’.

A real sports car – from the point of view of Business Innovation and the colleagues from Mercedes-Benz Marketing, we couldn’t have found a more appropriate slogan. It is a nod and an ironic wink to its big and muscular cousins. It’s as if a golfer would take on a heavyweight boxer – just for fun. The synthesis of a focused spirit and a perfectly trained body wins. After all, nothing else counts in the character of a real sports car – whichever way you look at it, it is and remains a synthesis.
Here, we have an uncompromising synthesis of distinctive design, elegant comfort and innovative technology. Without a doubt, the best Golf Car ever made. The challenge facing communications was to generate the vital spark that flashes from its creator to the audience. For a new dimension of mobility – a dimension that raises enthusiasm and delight to an entirely new level.

Epilogue.

So, how does it feel to have conquered uncharted terrain? Did Daimler promise too much? Isn’t this Golf Car wonderful in every respect? It was finally revealed to the public at the 145th Open Championship in Scotland. At last, the team from Daimler Business Innovation can reveal their long-hidden secrets. In the multi-part documentary, people who accompanied the project speak openly about the birth and growing pains of their ‘baby’, from the phases of progress and the painstaking moments of giving it that essential final polish.
The cameras glide through and around the Golf Car, every single feature and function is captured and precisely explained, viewers are invited to take a look behind the scenes. We have come full circle. The dream came true – and the legendary figurehead, the star, came out of it all without a scratch. What remains is the motivation: the best or nothing – even when it involves going far into uncharted terrain.

We would like to express our thanks to everyone involved in the #arealsportscar marketing campaign and are already looking forward to the success of whatever comes next.