The 80-second video is a film-school submission from students Tobia Haase, Lydia Lohse, and Jan Mettler. The trio wanted to explore the morality of technology.
The film's driverless Mercedes-Benz C-Class travels through an idyllic mountain town. When it encounters two girls playing in the street and wearing the long dresses of an earlier century, the car detects a possible collision and stops. Next, we see a dark-haired boy cross paths with the car. Instead of stopping, the car runs over him. The film shows a flash of a face recognizable to anyone who has watched The History Channel, or perhaps seen The Boys from Brazil. His mother cries out for "Adolf".
As the C-Class makes its escape we see the town is named Braunau am Inn, Hitler's birthplace. A title card at the end of the video reads "Detects dangers before they come up." The final scene is of young Adolf splayed out in the form of a swastika, just in case you missed the reference.
Creative or not, the video spotlights Mercedes-Benz's collision avoidance system, which the automaker has advertised as a key technological breakthrough. The system is known as Pre-Safe, and utilizes GPS technology, cameras and radar to apply braking when the car sees and senses a collision in the offing.
Though it seems like the C-Class is the hero in this tale, no company, least of all Mercedes, wants its products associated with Nazis and Hitler, or the idea of running over any child. The automaker makes sure its ads don't run during TV programming about World War II given the frequency that the company's vehicles are pictured in archival film from the war.
Not surprisingly, Mercedes-Benz is no fan of the video. According to The Independent, Mercedes-Benz released a statement saying they are "not amused" and found the spot "inappropriate".
What do you think of the video?