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Mercedes-Benz and Jaguar's war of the ads

by Ben Hsu

Three rounds have been exchanged in a battle over cats and chickens.

A good old-fashioned beef has erupted between normally staid luxury brands Mercedes-Benz and Jaguar. The weapon of choice? Ads, with chickens.

In September, the German automaker released an ad titled "Magic Body Control,” named after the 2014 S-Class's road-scanning technology that detects and braces for bumps in the asphalt. The commercial featured chickens and their preternatural ability to keep their heads and necks level no matter how their bodies are being moved about. It was a viral hit, thanks in no small part to funny-looking flightless birds bobbing to Diana Ross's "Upside Down.”

On December 17, Jaguar served Mercedes with an ad of their own, called "Jaguar vs. Chicken.” In it, a nerdy German engineer dances with a chicken, recalling the Mercedes ad, until the finale where the bird is devoured by a jaguar (the animal, not the car). The tagline: "Magic Body Control? We prefer cat-like reflexes.” Oh, snap! Jaguar also added the twitter hashtag #GoodToBeBad for some added salt in the wound.

Two days later Mercedes-Benz retaliated with a photo ad showing an S-Class about to run over a jaguar (again, the animal) crossing the road. The copy read, "Because cat-like reflexes aren't fast enough. The Pre-Safe brake.” Burn!

The Pre-Safe system applies maximum braking 0.6 seconds before what the car decides is an unavoidable accident, reducing the force of impact. Mercedes has described it as an "electronic crumple zone.” It would seem to imply then, disturbingly, that the car will indeed collide with the large cat, which is actually on the endangered species list.

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