Did you know that Jon Hamm, aka Mad Men's Don Draper, is the voice of Mercedes-Benz advertising? Neither did a group of stunned journalists who attended the brand's press conference yesterday at the New York International Auto Show. It's not that Mercedes has kept this juicy tidbit completely under wraps, as this blog post from May 2012 shows. (http://blog.mercedesoftucson.com/jon-hamm-a-spotlight-on-the-new-voice-f...) However, it's something that simply seemed to have escaped the automotive media crowd. So when Hamm stepped into the spotlight to help introduce the high-performance S63 AMG COUPE, he stole the show.
The reveal was a bit odd, at first. Shortly after Mercedes-Benz USA's President and CEO Steve Cannon kicked off the press conference, a "voice of God" began interrupting his speech. One comment referenced how people liked the Super Bowl commercial. The voice then went on to complain that it is always behind-the-scenes instead of on-the-screen. The next thing the crowd knew, Jon Hamm stepped out into the spotlight – and this typically jaded group of journalists became putty in Mercedes' clever hands.
The fact that Mad Men is all about the Manhattan advertising culture of the 1960s was an especially nice touch at the New York Auto Show. And the presence of one of the hottest small screen stars just three days after this season's premiere was another strong draw.
Did Don Draper take too much attention away from the German car manufacturer's latest over-the-top automotive offering? Not at all. Cameras were thrust into the air, people clamoring to get that great shot for what was already a great story...and certainly one that will set this press conference apart from the many others attended that day. That's terrific branding: standing out with the media much the way Mercedes expects its vehicles to stand out from the competition.