Mercedes-Benz Turns to Immersive Spaces to Activate at the US Open

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Since 2010, the brand has been one of the most visible partners for the tournament.

Brand Ambassador Roger Federer at the Mercedes-Benz brand center. (Photo via Mercedes-Benz)

Tennis is a sport synonymous with luxury. From star-studded suites, to some of the world’s highest paid athletes, you can’t ignore the glamour the sport brings.

A proud partner of the US Open, Mercedes-Benz has helped deliver the glamour and excitement that fills Arthur Ashe Stadium for two weeks late in the summer for the past seven years.

This year, the brand turned to technology and immersive spaces to bring their partnership with the tournament to life.

“Each year, we add something new to our activation plan. That’s one of my favorite parts of the partnership because we’re always surprising and delighting our customers and fans, said Monique Harrison, Head of Brand Experience Marketing for MBUSA. “This year, we have a number of new surprises — from an expanded suite, to an immersive brand center.”

When it comes to activating on site, it is no surprise that Mercedes-Benz would take an experiential approach given the nature and trend of brand marketing at events over the past few years.

According to a 2016 study done by The Event Marketing Institute and experiential marketing agency Mosaic, 98% of consumers capture content at live events, and 100% of those who capture content share it across their social media networks.

For Mercedes-Benz, the increased presence of technology allowed their activation to take things to a whole new level.

“2017 marks an important technological upgrade for the brand, as we broke ground on a new Mercedes-Benz Brand Center,”said Harrison. “This brand center includes an interactive fan engagement area called ‘Ace Your Ride’, which allows consumers to build their own vehicle while hitting balls at their desired model, color, wheels and trim. They simply hit the ball to the corresponding color, model, etc. that they want and can get a picture with their newly built vehicle to share on social media.”

A look at the Ace Your Ride activation. (Photo via Mercedes-Benz)

Creating a highly sharable activation + allowing the consumers to create content = a win for all parties involved.

Not only did Mercedes-Benz focus on the technological aspects of their activation, they went above and beyond to make sure that their VIP customers were able to experience luxury in ways only the US Open can provide.

“We always spend a lot of time thinking about how to take care of our most loyal customers so I’d have to say, our enhanced Mercedes-Benz suite is something I’m particularly proud of,” said Harrison when she spoke about their expanded 60 person suite. “They’ll also eat and drink very well thanks to enhanced catering, bar and lounge spaces. This upgraded hospitality option allows our 30 area dealers from Long Island to Southern Connecticut to host their customers throughout two spectacular weeks of tennis.”

Even though the tennis may only last for two weeks, the planning for this type of event is something that Harrison and her team are on top of all year long.

“The planning never really stops! We’re already brainstorming ideas for next year and discussing amplifications with our fantastic partners at the US Open,” said Harrison. “While the heavy-up execution obviously starts a couple months out, the planning is truly a year-long, 24–7 exercise.”

Not long after Rafael Nadal hoisted the trophy over his head to the roaring approval of a raucous New York crowd, Harrison and her team began their preparations for next year. Although a 365-day process, when it comes down to it, they want to make sure that once the two weeks are over, they fulfill one promise.

“Quantitatively, we look at metrics like foot traffic, sales leads, customers hosted, earned PR buzz, social media conversation and more. But qualitatively, we always look back and ask ourselves, ‘Did we honor our promise to be the best or nothing?’ If the answer is yes, we’ve done our jobs.”

This piece has been presented to you by SMU’s Master of Science in Sport Management.

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