Several days ago, I saw a very interest advertisement posted by my friend on Facebook. The idea of the ad is about escaping the confinement of old luxury and exploring the fun of new luxury. In video, Mercedes represents the old fashion, the prison, or the decayed luxury, while audi A8 is the symbol of new high-standard era. The video try to pass convey the idea that the era for those old wealthy people is gone, so as the era for their loved brands Mercedes; for the new wealthy generation, Audi pioneers the new era of leading luxury.
Clearly, Audi is trying to influence the affective component and cognitive component of their targeted consumers by showing off the delicate Audi A8 and persuading consumers to switch from E-Class Mercedes to A8.
Personally, I think the advertisement can achieve some resonance with the younger generation, as this generation welcomes change and always pursues something different. After all, between Audi and Mercedes, few consumers can really tell which brand carries better quality ( after all, we are not mechanics or experienced car designers, or car repairers). To normal people, both brands are all associated with premium quality. As a result, what influences their decision making, instead of quality, are their attitudes towards the brand and certain types of cars. These attitudes are influenced by their immediate and macro environment, such as friends, families, social trends, and word-of-mouth.
So here, the rivalry between Audi and Mercedes is not about engineering technology, but about who is the winner in the battle of marketing.
From my experience, Audi company is smarter than Mercedes company on capturing the market share in China. If you walk or drive alone a highway in China, you would probably see way more Audi than Mercedes, though sales in Mercedes are catching up in recent years. You know why? Audi breaks into China’s market long time ago by obtaining the approval from Chinese government; that is, Audi is included in the list of Chinese official vehicle, which is ordered in large amount by numerous Chinese state-owned corporations. At that time, BMW and Mercedes were banned by Chinese government from the list of official vehicle, because there were deemed as not “appropriate”for official use. Finding out the trick in the game, BMW and Mercedes started to find ways to “woo” Chinese officials. As a result, they are now in the list of official vehicle as well. This example shows that marketing could be more important than the quality of product itself. The point is, if your products is are not accepted by large clients, you would loose the large pie for sure.