Mercedes-Benz needs no introduction – but this is a car manufacturer ahead of the curve, running bold, hyper-successful marketing campaigns targeted at younger generations. Why? It's predicted, by 2020 (yes, this year), Gen Z and millennials will make up 40% of car owners on the road. So, it’s no surprise Mercedes-Benz sought to increase brand awareness and engagement with new audiences on TikTok, including Gen Z, in the UK and Germany.
Right now, today’s digital consumers, and particularly Gen Z’ers and young millennials, are motivated by experiences, mood, emotion; not things. So how do you engage them when you’re a brand that sells big and actually quite expensive ‘things’? Mercedes-Benz launched a Hashtag Challenge on TikTok called the #MBStarChallenge, encouraging users to re-envision its world-famous logo in their own unique way. Be it dance, drawing, magic, this was a chance for users to ‘let their star shine’, the best entries being featured on official Mercedes-Benz channels.
The Hashtag Challenge utilised several key tactics to drive engagement across both markets. Firstly, Mercedes-Benz kickstarted the challenge by inviting popular creators in the UK and Germany to showcase their versions of the star, including a bespoke soundtrack for the Challenge - that’s impossible to get out of your head. Collectively, this drove over 2.24M video views. It then used two types of ad placements to boost exposure: x2 beautifully-edited Brand Takeover ads, presenting a premium, glossy look, and x4 In-Feed Ads made from repurposed creator videos to add recognition and feel natively to the feed, alongside light Mercedes branding. Along with a Brand Banner on the Discover page, all of these drove users to the central Challenge page, creating maximum reach.
Tapping into refreshing creativity, this was a clever activation less-focused on individual vehicles and more focused on creating a strong brand connection. By opening up its most important asset of all – the logo – Mercedes-Benz showed it understood; it could celebrate creativity, be different and be unique. In exactly the way a digital native craves.
Overall, across both markets, the Hashtag Challenge was a resounding success. It generated incredible UGC and mass exposure, with 180M+ video views from 185K+ videos created by over 73K participants. The variety of creative submissions was tremendous – spanning gymnastics, street dance and magic to using the app’s in-built nose painter effect to draw the ‘shining star’.
As a result, Mercedes-Benz remarkably added over 30K new followers to its TikTok brand profile. In the UK, the challenge page received 1.64M page views, topping the UK benchmark markedly. Similarly, in Germany, the challenge page exceeded its benchmark, reaching an impressive 1.4M page views. Finally, both markets also exceeded targets for Brand Takeover CTR, reaching c.17.5%.
Clearly, this Hashtag Challenge resonated strongly with a new audience of TikTok users and highlighted a strong passion for Mercedes-Benz. In fact, a post-campaign TikTok Brand Lift Study conducted in partnership with Nielsen showed that ad recall increased by 66.3%, whilst brand favourability increased significantly by 18.2% and brand preference by 15.7%.
There’s a new star in town.