For every college student with a Che Guevara poster on their dorm room walls and a copy of Motorcycle Diaries on their shelves, there are plenty of Americans who remember the communist leader as a cold-blooded killer. That's the problem with revolutionaries; they're nothing if not divisive. Mercedes-Benz recently received a first-hand lesson in just how polarizing Guevara himself can be after the company used a massive image of the leader in the company's presentation on car sharing at CES.
Dieter Zetsche, Daimler CEO, said, "Some colleagues still think that car-sharing borders on communism, but if this is a revolution, then 'Viva la revolucion!'."
The Guevara image then splayed across the one-story screen behind the executive, complete with a Mercedes-Benz three-pointed star on his trademark beret. Let the cringing begin.
It didn't take long for Cuban exiles in Florida to descend on the Mercedes-Benz consumer site with promises of boycotts and shock at the company's insensitivity. It does seem amazingly short-sighted for a German luxury manufacturer to embrace the image of a leader who happily shunned the niceties of the upper class for a rifle.