A Commercial for a Car Commercial: The CLA Project Update

A few weeks ago we featured an interesting project by Casey Neistat: The CLA Project. Casey was hired by Mercedes Benz to create a new, fresh and creative approach to the typical stock car commercials that you've seen on television for the past twenty years. The final commercial for the new Mercedes Benz CLA has finally been released. I have to say it is definitely creative and unlike any car commercial I've seen before. I love the patriotism and the fun, light-hearted vibe in the commercial. Tell me in the comments below what you think of Casey's vision.

Casey with his crew during the shooting of the CLA Project.

You can connect with Casey at the following:
Casey Neistat's Facebook
Casey Neistat's Twitter
Casey Neistat's Instagram

Rebecca Britt's picture

Rebecca Britt is a South Texas based commercial, architectural and concert photographer. When she's not working Rebecca enjoys spending time with her two daughters, playing Diablo III, and shooting concerts (Electronic Dance Music). Rebecca also runs the largest collective of EDM (electronic dance music) photographers on social media.

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the making was better than the ad in my opinion, I Barley got to see the front of the car

ya i agree...the ad itself was kind of more about how much fun they had rather than an effective commercial...if the viewer doesn't walk away saying i need to get in that car then you haven't really accomplished much

Except for the fact that I'm much more aware of the CLA than I would have been if it were a standard commercial. I'm not in the market for a Benz (unfortunately) but I am a photographer, and I like Casey Neistat. Having watched all the making-of videos, plus the final one, this car is much further ingrained in my brain than it would have been through virtually any other 60 second spot. So props to Mercedes for trying an alternative route of advertising, and going for a different target market as well. I don't think the final ad was ground-breaking, but I wouldn't go so far to say it didn't accomplish anything.

i get what your saying...don't get me wrong i love the 4 part series of the making of it...i also am a fan of Casey's work...i was just saying the final product to people out there who haven't seen the series might not get the full experience of what the CLA class is even about.

"alternative route of advertising"?

Girl in bikini just standing around, boy doing all the fun - how is that alternative? It's not, it is as old as stone age! ;)

The alternative route would be the way he created the commercial, making a full campaign of multiple BTS vidoes of creating the video created a nice little epic build up to the final result. Yes the final video was not as fantastic as it could have been but it built up nicely and the end result is ultimately the journey he took with the car and the possibility you can create the same.

Very true! He really did a nice job of melding his own personal love for Mercedes into the entire campaign and made me want to buy the car. I am not a MB type of guy but for 29900 that isnt out of the realm of my affordability as a younger fella.

Well if you look at it as a whole the 4 part series was the commercial. Thats the best part. He created a story and engaged with his audience he already knew he had with covering his own personal excitement for a brand in the Mercedes to make it personal and very intriguing to watch. The commercial will likely never air on TV if it does it will be small viewings. His style and the way he put this all together and over the top like he usually does his project is just flawless. Very well done and cant wait to see what he does next.

The high light was the girl, going from a dress to a stars and stripes bikini, the guy getting towed on a skateboard seemed to be the emphasis not the car, look at the group of hipsters who made it. I agree with the "unempressed" comments below. SO what is so different about this commercial? It starts off in some PICTURE PERFECT SOUTHWEST, UTAH SALT FLATS, part of America ALL CAR COMMERCIALS DO THAT. Then it heads to where NEW YORK CITY..............ALL CAR COMMERCIALS DO THAT. The commercial then SHOWS ME A BEAUTIFUL GIRL..........SHE IS NOT DRIVING...... SHE IS A PASSENGER............she is shown sitting into the drivers seat, but by all accounts she is EYECANDY not the owner or driver............ALL CAR COMMERCIALS DO THAT. THANKS Fstoppers I watched this commercial now I will watch the making of it.....

would have been better if they cut off the first part of it.
It's different, but I agree the making of was better. And would have been better if the girl had more of a part in driving. I don't understand the US flag tie-in w/ the CLA. It's a german car unless they're making most of it in Alabama like they did w/ the M-Class initially, in which case the theme should have been more focused on made there w/ southern girls instead of a NYC girl.

Guy's a reject. Why do companies continue to throw money at him?

I wonder that with a lot of people in this business.

The last example, and I can't just wrap my head around this, is this campaign from Mango:

Miranda Kerr is - without a doubt - one of the most beautiful woman in this world and somehow the photographer made her look like a bored-to-death monster. Amsterdam/the Netherlands (and maybe other parts of the world) is just full of this add. Whoever shot this should go sit in a corner and cry.

I thought the car commercial was utter crap and I'm really disappointed. I actually thought that idiot was going to make something good. It looks like someone with no plan took b-roll with a couple nice turns and smacked together a minute while laughing all the way to the bank.

I think this ad campain was possibly more focused for the making of and web promotional. That said where does the target demographic lie when most are viewed as being aspired photographers, videographers or his hipster 16-22 year old youtube followers, most of which that car being way out cost and not practical for gear transport or maybe it is I wouldn't know anything about the car unless I sit through all the parts of the making of.

Perhaps if the director would stay behind the camera instead of staring in his own commercial he could made something.

Rant End-

Sounds like it was effective... Very few ads warrant conversation. This did, and probably for much less than traditional advertising.

I don't think so, for me it was like watching a cooking show where the cook at the end pulls out a collapsed soufflé. Yes the next day you might say, "hey did you see that awful end to the cooking show."

That doesn't warrant it to be a successful show. If you create a show based on making a product such as car commercial in this instance, your commercial should be a fine dessert of elements used though out the journey not throw everything into a blender and pour out shit-tart with catch words.

On a side note, this demographic is the type to show others and share good creditable work. "Hey check out this guy and his journey to make a amazing commercial." with links and posting via social what nots. I've already forgot what car this was about because everyone talking about the whack who made it.

I would never suggest for people to watch this, it fell very short. The reason I'm so disappointed is the fact that I was so engaged with the first part of this only to feel like the end was created first year film student given b-roll and assigned to create a spot.

A cooks ingredients can be poor but the only thing that counts is how well the food comes out of the oven.

Sorry, it's lunch time, food analogies is all I can come up with!

Maybe you haven't noticed, but YOU are the audience for this commercial.

It is not about the 'normal' Mercedes audience. The commercial is produced to reach the Photographer, Videographer and all the fans/follower of Casey Neistat (in my opinion). And with a detailed BTS coverage you payed much more attention to the CLS, as Caleb Kerr mentioned before, than you would with seeing 10 normal TV commercials (which would cost millions and millions).

- Edward

I think it was a terrible song to pick as well as some of the visual. The making of the video #3 was the most intense toward the end, should have left it at that

Nailed it. This isn't your average Mercedes Commercial and it's not aimed at the old guy watching Golf. It's the early thirty somethings and the twenty somethings. I think he hit it spot on, and I think how Mercedes is marketing this car is spot on!

HOLY HATERS! The commercial is fine. Good for them for getting paid.

If you're marketing to a set of people who have more money than long-term plans (which, you have to admit, is a fantastic market segment) and just want to have fun while enjoying the best of life . . . spot on. This is not a market segment to be swayed by overpolished pompousness.

The commercial grows on me. Hated the music the first time through; now I can't get it out of my head.

I admire anyone who brings that much crazy to the table.

At first I was expecting more and was left a little disappointed after the first time I watched it. But to my surprise, it gets better and better the more I replay it which is rare in commercials. Looking back, it's perfectly suited for the demographics. This isn't a high end 6 figure Mercedes. It's an entry level type car and allows a younger hip generation to purchase a new Mercedes and because it's entry level, it doesn't have all the cutting edge technology some of the higher models have. So better to focus on the perceived experience of the car. I think that something like this running on tv conmercial spots would be quite effective as its busy enough that you always see something new on subsequent viewings. So in the end it's quite ingenious and fun.

I have nothing against Casey Neistat, he is making a living, and doing it, the best he can. But Rebecca Britt said "I have to say it is definitely creative and unlike any car commercial I’ve seen before." which I can not hardly believe. She is entitled to her opinion, but as some writing for a web site such as Fstoppers she must be media savvy, and seen dozens and dozens of "creative ads" such as this. My problem with this ad is, "my opinion" it is the same old tired, if you buy this car you can get girls like the one featured in this commercial, drive to exotic empty spaces such as the Utah Salt Flats, and be above the masses, cause your different, your special, just like you always told yourself. Look you could get from New York City to the Utah Salt Flats and back in a 95 corrolla and sexy girls would just as easily hop in your car if they actually liked you, or you had good drugs or money or...... The are a couple of nice edits in the commericial and the song does grow on you and I dont have a problem with Mr Neistat starring in his own ad and the woman is very sexy, and sweet appearing but the basic message is the same old, same old, CAR COMMERCIAL nothing new here folks, move along

PLEASE NOTE I didnt once talk about the car or say I want one which I dont, and yes in the commercial it does not stand out at all, stars and stripes bikini hell yep.

It's okay. Now, if they had Marty McFly skateboarding behind a budget Mercedes, that would've been awesome. Really, using a ski rope? I upgraded my assessment to okay because of the woman in the bikini.

Unfortunately it was engaging for the wrong reasons. I have never seen so much American Patriotism for a German product. This was not about being a young 20 something living care free in the US of A, it was meant to sell an expensive car. Take out the American flag, (even the one on the bikini) and maybe even show some shots of the car itself, rather than skating and NYC.

I'm surprised he didnt paint the whole car in an American flag.