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EVENT REPORT

Mercedes-Benz Marks Anniversary With Retrospective Car Exhibition

Photo: Jim Shi

Eager to showcase its long-running relationship with the motion picture business during the lead-up to the Academy Awards and introduce the latest generation of its SL Roadster, Mercedes-Benz erected a special retrospective at Warner Brothers Studios. The private exhibition, dubbed the “SL at Hollywood,” was designed to highlight the presence of the car model in more than 150 movies and TV programs over its 60-year history and also preview the new SL commercial that made its national debut on Oscar night.

“The exhibit tied in with the commercial because no other automobile has captured the hearts of aficionados and celebrities in Hollywood like the celebrated Mercedes-Benz SL,” said Christine J. Chase, national brand and classic public relations specialist at Mercedes-Benz USA. The German automaker also announced a contribution to the Film Foundation in honor of the SL's 60th anniversary.

Opened for viewings on February 23 and 25, the exclusive display marked the first time the car brand has hosted a second event centered on the Oscars (Mercedes-Benz holds a viewing party at Soho House during the telecast).

Working with Hillary Harris and her Warner Brothers Special Events team, under the direction of Mercedes-Benz U.S.A., OSK Marketing & Communications devised a setup on Stage 5 that would represent the history of the car with era-specific vignettes. That meant a Mad Men feel for the 1960s, a Studio 54 vibe for the area dedicated to the 1970s and '80s, and a more streamlined backdrop focused on technological innovation for the 2000s.

“Warner Brothers Studios worked well as a venue for this program, as it helped tie in our message and helped to create the feel that we wanted,” said Chase. “It's an iconic studio within the movie and television industry, as is the Mercedes-Benz SL in the automotive industry.”

According to Victoria Flato, project coordinator at OSK, planning for the event started in October and the setup took one day; preparation required a few days in advance. The majority of the cars were brought in from the Mercedes-Benz Classic Center in Irvine.

The two-day event, which hosted U.S. press and foreign journalists on separate days, wasn't open to the public, but, as part of the SL's 60th anniversary, Chase said Mercedes will have enthusiast-focused displays showcasing the vehicle's lineage at events throughout 2012. Although Mercedes did no disclose figures, Chase noted that this program acted like all other press programs the brand hosts. “We used this program as a way to tell, and show, a great story.”