Online Guerrilla

Agency Network: 
April 2011


The ProblemThe target group of the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter think they can not afford one because Mercedes-Benz is often seen as a very expensive brand. In reality the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter is a really affordable option compared to other vans in its league.But because potential buyers think they can not afford a new van they go look for a cheaper alternative on the internet. To show people it’s better to spend a little more money on a brand new Mercedes -Benz Sprinter than buying a second hand van from the competition we did something different. The IdeaInstead of promoting the new Sprinter we started selling second hand vans of the competition. On the Dutch Ebay called Marktplaats, the number one site where people sell their cars, we placed fake adverts of our competitors. On first sight these seem to be normal adverts of people trying to sell their van. But when you browse the pictures you see a brand new Sprinter that is parked in the background. Big letters on the side of the Sprinter tell you that you be better of buying this brand new sprinter than the second hand van in the advert. When people call the telephonenumber they hear a voicemail of an angry car salesman that tells you to go to the Mercedes-Benz dealer. When they send an e-mail they receive an autoreply message.The ResultsThe adverts where viewed more than 20.000 times in one day, a normal Marktplaats ad just 20 times. Quickly it got picked up by Autoblog. nl, the biggest carblog in the Netherlands with more than 1 million unique visitors and after that other carblogs followed. It started a buzz on Twitter and also attracted Spitsnews. We received a large amount of voicemail and e-mail replies of people asking about the Sprinter. Two fake adverts on Marktplaats, a total cost of 150 Euros and a lot of free publicity turned this campaign into a real success.

Digital advertisement created by N=5, Netherlands for Mercedes, within the category: Automotive.

Advertising Agency: N=5, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Creative Directors: Lukas van de Ven, Jeroen van der Sluis
Art Director: Ed van Bennekom
Copywriter: Jasper Diks
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morse's picture

That's smart, but only the blogs and media makes it work. Otherwise it reaches too few.

Activity Score 18159
Art Director |

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morse's picture

That's smart, but only the blogs and media makes it work. Otherwise it reaches too few.

Activity Score 18159
Art Director |

.. / .-.. --- ...- . / .- -.. ...- . .-. - .. ... .. -. --.

atb2005's picture

This may work in Holland, but it won't work in the States. No site like the one mentioned in this video (say, eBay) would allow fake ads. Besides some people may be more pissed off than amused by all this.

Activity Score 13557
Boxey's picture

"The adverts were viewed loads of times"? Haha.

Activity Score 8879
Melaleuca In-House
Ron Burgandy's picture


Ron Burgandy
Activity Score 26
Art Director at National CineMedia
Olafski001's picture

probably not very successful (casefilm is a bit too vague) but still really nice idea

Activity Score 1193
Copywriter |
Temple's picture

BS disguised as smart.

Activity Score 11341
Creative Director
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