Automakers have taken to social media with varying degress of success. On one side, we've got the Ford Fiesta Movement and on the other we've got... nearly every other automaker's social outreach. And now, we have Mercedes-Benz.
Four teams of two have been picked to race to Cowboys Stadium in Dallas, Texas, with one team each leaving from New York, Tampa, Chicago and Los Angeles. Each team is captained by a "celebrity" well-versed in the Twitter universe – an odd combination of "coaches," but they've got what Mercedes wants: 7,087,730 followers, combined.
So how does Twitter factor into the race? Each team needs to collect something Mercedes is calling "tweet fuel" and it's based on the rather vague description of "twitter activity."
Said "fuel" will help push the team further in their respective vehicles, with NY behind the wheel of a 2011 Mercedes-Benz CL550 4Matic, Tampa driving a 2011 E550 Cabriolet, Chicago getting the keys to a 2011 GL350 BlueTec and LA will use a 2011 S400 Hybrid. If they "win," each member will receive a 2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe.
One more note, Mercedes has put out a teaser video of a faux Tweet-guided CL, proving once again that automakers are better at contrived stunts than viral videos. Check it out for yourself after the jump.
World's First Twitter-Fueled Race With Roster of Celebrities -- Serena Williams, Rev Run, Nick Swisher and Pete Wentz -- to Complement Automaker's Inaugural Super Bowl Ad
MONTVALE, N.J., Jan. 13, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA) today announced the starting lineup for a groundbreaking Super Bowl initiative that harnesses Twitter activity to power four competing race teams to football's biggest showdown, during which the company will advertise for the very first time.
The Twitter-fueled campaign (http://on.fb.me/SBTweetRace) will put four two-person driving teams behind the wheels of specially equipped 2011 Mercedes-Benz vehicles – each embarking separately from Chicago, Los Angeles and New York and Tampa -- on February 2 and converging on February 4 at Cowboys Stadium outside Dallas, Texas. Competing for a pair of all-new 2012 C-Class Coupes, teams will have the help of Twitter–savvy celebrities, who, in the role of Team Coach, will rally online support for their assigned teams and raise money for charity in the process.
Out of a field of nearly 2,000 candidates who applied for the Tweet Race through the Mercedes-Benz USA Facebook Page, four drivers -- each riding with a co-driver of their choosing -- were selected based on a combination of social-media prowess, personality and other intangibles that promise to make the race engaging and entertaining to followers. In a random drawing, each driving team was then assigned a city to start from and a Mercedes-Benz vehicle to match.
The Official Mercedes-Benz Tweet Race Teams
TV personality Layla Kayleigh of Studio City, CA, brings a unique energy to every show she hosts. Her co-driver is frequent on-camera emcee Julissa Bermudez from Los Angeles.
Founding member of legendary hip-hop group Run-D.M.C. and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee Rev Run. Mr. Run is supporting the Lower Eastside Service Center, which provides safe and structured residential environments for New Yorkers living with opioid dependency.
2011 Mercedes-Benz CL550 4MATIC Coupe
Team Starting Point
New York, NY
Creative technologist Len Kendall is a prolific Tweeter on the oddities and wonders of the Internet. His Co-Driver is pal and "renaissance man" John Morrison. Both are from Chicago.
New York Yankees outfielder, All-Star and World Series Champion Nick Swisher. His involvement benefits "Swish's Wishes," a charity that enriches lives and lifts the spirits of children with vital health issues, while providing care, comfort and support during difficult times.
2011 Mercedes-Benz E550 Cabriolet
Team Starting Point
Jennifer Marshall and Co-Driver Meredith Sinclair each care for two kids, a dog and a husband while Tweeting about the everyday challenges of raising good boys in a complex world. They are from Wilmette, IL.
Thirteen-time Grand Slam Singles Champion and two-time Olympic Gold Medalist Serena Williams. Ms. Williams is participating on behalf of The Serena Williams Foundation, which assists U.S. youth affected by violent crimes and helps provide quality educations to underprivileged high-school students.
2011 Mercedes-Benz GL350 BlueTEC Clean Diesel SUV
Team Starting Point
Wisconsin residents Todd Sanders and Co-Driver John Pederson met through Twitter and quickly developed a close friendship. Now the two Green Bay Packers fans are headed to their first Super Bowl® as a team.
Chicago-bred bassist and Black Cards frontman Pete Wentz. Mr. Wentz's involvement benefits St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, one of the world's premier pediatric cancer centers dedicated to finding cures and saving children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases.
2011 Mercedes-Benz S400 HYBRID Sedan
Team Starting Point Los Angeles, CA
How the Race is Won Since each team's progress is "fueled" by Twitter activity during the race, members of these four driving teams will spend the next three weeks mobilizing their Twitter followings, adding more to their ranks, and urging people to join their team on the Mercedes-Benz USA Facebook Page -- featuring a special section through which people can learn about Tweet Race teams, pick a team to support, and ultimately follow the race in real time.
Supporters who officially join a team before the race begins are automatically be entered to win a VIP trip for two to the Mercedes-Benz sponsored event of their choice -- 2011 US Open, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in September 2011 or the 2011 PGA Championship -- if their team wins. Once the race starts on February 2, the driving teams will depart from their respective locations and attempt to generate as much Twitter activity, or "Tweet Fuel" as possible for their journey to Dallas.
Over a three-day period, they will earn points not only for collecting Tweet Fuel, but for their performance on a series of social media-related challenges they will face along the way. The team that reaches the Finish Line with the highest total score will be declared the winner, and the driver and co-driver will each receive an all-new 2012 C-Class Coupe -- which will debut later this year.
"We've begun amping up our efforts in the social media space to start some new conversation with the brand," said Steve Cannon, vice president of marketing for MBUSA. "Over the next few years a series of new and very unique vehicles will join the Mercedes-Benz family, and the social media interaction we're building will be an important foundation. When we made the decision to utilize the Super Bowl to set the stage for these new models, we decided to go beyond simply showcasing the brand to actually creating dialogue, experiences and interaction. We think the combination of our advertising and the Twitter Race will create the type of 'living' advertisement that engages people in new ways."