Adventures in Advertising: What is the Creature in That Mercedes Ad?

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey
adventures in advertising what is the creature in that mercedes ad

You’ve probably seen a certain Mercedes-Benz ad this year. Or maybe in years past – I think the ad in question ran last year, as well, and maybe even before then.

It’s a holiday ad featuring one of the brand’s luxury SUVs and advertising a winter sales event for Mercedes.

We open on a close-up of a snowplow. Chained to the grille of this plow truck is what appears to be a cute stuffed animal. Except it also appears to be alive. And sad. It’s snowing and cold and nasty and the mystery plow driver (no word on if he’s wearing a “Mr. Plow” jacket) stops at some out-of-the-way café. The sentient “plushie” (M-B’s term) frees itself from bondage and wanders across a snowy parking lot, where an adorable little girl finds it and asks it if it’s OK before picking it up and hugging it tightly to warm it up. It’s implied the suddenly sentient stuffed animal heads home happy, with a new family.

Let me be clear – I get the intent of the ad. We’re supposed to feel that Mercedes is offering up a warm and cozy respite from a cruel wintry world via its luxury vehicles, and that the kind of nice family that takes in a strange creature would drive its cars. And if the ad pushes your “cute” buttons by showing an impossibly precocious child and super-cute furry friend together, or makes you feel nostalgia for your own collection of stuffed animals that you had as a kid, so much the better from the brand’s perspective. Same if you’re a parent of a child around that age who loves his/her plush toys – it might hit your heartstrings.

But still, I have questions. So many questions.

What is this creature? Is it good or evil? Why is it chained to the grille of a plow truck? Since it’s chained to the grille, maybe it’s not cute and cuddly after all but actually secretly evil? Either we have an a-hole of a plow driver who chains stuffed animals/sentient beings to the grille of a truck, or maybe it’s chained there BECAUSE it is actually intent on harm.

Also, it frees itself from the chain. Why would it allow itself to be chained up in the first place, then?

Furthermore, if this creature can walk on its own, does anyone realize it? Or is this a Calvin and Hobbes thing in which only the child sees it as anything more than a stuffed toy?

I like kids. I like stuffed animals. I like cuteness. But this commercial confuses me. We have a being that may or may be sentient, may or may not be evil, and is chained to a plow truck for no apparent reason.

There has to be a less confusing way to combine cute kids and cute toys in a bid to sell luxury cars. Tweak it for next year, M-B.

[Image: Screenshot of ad via YouTube]

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4 of 13 comments
  • ToolGuy ToolGuy on Dec 29, 2020

    After reading this piece, I will not be purchasing any stuffed animals, but I *will* be watching "movies about trucks, which are based on Stephen King short stories, and feature soundtracks by AC/DC" (available on Prime).

    • ToolGuy ToolGuy on Dec 30, 2020

      Update: There are enough gratuitous expletives in that film to make you question the value of gratuitous expletives. But it does have aliens and Russians and Emilio Estevez and Yeardley Smith and M72's and diesel fuel and autonomous vehicles... *lots* of autonomous vehicles.

  • Schmitt trigger Schmitt trigger on Dec 30, 2020

    The best automotive ad parody is the Lincoln commercial where Jim Carrey is rolling a bugger on his fingers.

  • Art Vandelay 15k for some old rusty 80s junk that is slower to 60 than the Exxon Valdez? Pass. Plus no TikTok on the old Mercedes
  • JMII I know people behind me get POed when I refuse to turn (right or left) depending on traffic. Even my wife will scream "just go already" but I tend err on the side of waiting for a gap that gives me some cushion. It's the better safe then sorry approach which can be annoying for those behind. Oh well.
  • Bobbysirhan Next thing you know, EV drivers will be missing the freedom to travel on their own schedules instead of their cars'.
  • Cprescott I'm not surprised by this behavior - it is consistent with how owners of Honduhs, Toyoduhs, or Mazduhs drive. Without fail, these are the consistently obtuse drivers on the road.
  • MaintenanceCosts Timely question as this happened to me just this morning. The answer was "my kids were engaged in a stupid fight in the back seat." I was trying to drive and keep them from killing each other at once, and I cut off a pedestrian in a crosswalk while making a left turn. Thankfully I wasn't close enough to create serious danger, but it was a jerk driving move.