Mercedes-Benz kicks off a new global brand blitz this week that pays homage to its founding father, Gottlieb Daimler. The first new TV commercial of the campaign depicts the late German and his motto "The best or nothing."

The campaign, developed with lead agency Jung von Matt in Hamburg, Germany, breaks in Europe, rolling out to the UK, Italy, France and Spain. It will also later be seen in the U.S. and Canada, along with Japan and South Africa, a spokeswoman at Mercedes-Benz world headquarters in Stuttgart told

Mercedes-Benz believes the time is right for this new brand effort since its global vehicle sales have risen by 16% this year over 2009 and its new model offensive will result in 16 new or upgraded products this year and next. All-new, more fuel-efficient V6 and V8 engines arrive this fall, along with the new standard, ECO start/stop feature on all models.

Joachim Schmidt, executive vice president-sales and marketing for the brand at its global base in Stuttgart, said the automaker has a long history of bringing new technology innovations to market. "Based on this tradition, our customers expect nothing less than technological leadership," he said. "For us, that means we want to deliver the very best in all areas – be that in research and development, production, sales, service and aftermarket business or in purchasing."

The new brand claim is reflected in brand's core values of perfection, fascination and responsibility and is also a part of corporate culture, Mr. Schmidt said.

In the U.S., Mercedes-Benz doesn't currently have an advertising tag. But last summer, for the launch of the ninth-generation flagship E-Class sedan, the ads all used the theme: "This is Mercedes-Benz."

The most lauded closing ad tag for the brand in the U.S., according to many experts, was "Engineered Like No Other Car in the World." But that line was dropped in the mid-1990s when the automaker was trying to make its brand more approachable. Earlier this decade, Mercedes-Benz USA adopted the derivative "Unlike Any Other," highlighting a different attribute with a word before the tag, including experience, value and service.

Earlier this year, rival BMW started a global ad push that expanded the brand's "Joy" ad theme from the company's home base in Germany around the world. The move caused quite a stir- and criticism- from BMW enthusiasts in the U.S. But BMW North American officials insist the brand isn't walking away from the auto industry's longest-used ad tag of "Ultimate Driving Machine" and that the idea to use Joy wasn't forced upon them by the German contingent.

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Jean Halliday is a seasoned journalist with the nation's longest consecutive run covering auto advertising. Her years in the trenches include stints at Automotive News, Adweek and Advertising Age. The native New Yorker now lives outside the Motor City. You can read Jean's blog at

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