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.
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