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See Dancing Chickens Demonstrate Stability In Mercedes's Surprise Viral Hit

Mercedes uses a particular characteristic of chickens to demonstrate a particular characteristic of its suspension.

When Mercedes wanted an appropriate visual to explain its "Magic Body Control" active suspension system, the brand turned to—what else?—chickens.

In this spot from agency Jung von Matt/Neckar Stuttgart, a bunch of chickens are seen to be dancing to Diana Ross's "Upside Down"—actually it's their bodies that dance, manipulated by the hands of what we can only presume are scientists, while their heads remain comically static, as chickens' heads do.

The unexpected visual device has struck a nerve—the spot is nearing a million views on YouTube.

Agency Art Director Lucas Osis and Copywriter Nico Baumann say that there's no trick to the spot—the funny effect is all down to poultry dynamics: "Basically, we just put a chicken in front of the camera. Then we got choreographers to move them according to the music and filmed it."

No CGI was involved, they say—"all the credits go to the chickens, which are just naturally able to keep their head steady"—but there was the matter of finding the right chickens. "(It wasn't) easy finding one, that was also willing to do it in front of a camera. So we literally had to contact every single animal trainer in Germany to find our star. Quite a headache, but we think it was worth it," they say.

The creatives say the brief was to create a commercial for Mercedes's stabilization system that adapts to street conditions. "We then remembered a video we’ve seen a while ago: a guy moving a chicken around while its head stood perfectly still: Exactly the same thing the Mercedes system is able to do. (A perfect analogy! But above all we wanted to create something that we would really enjoy to watch. So we tried to improve it somehow and thought: What’s better than seeing a chicken shaking? A chicken that is shaking to some funky disco music of course! And hopefully, people will agree with us."

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11 Comments

  • susanrudnicki

    Animal rights activists won't be at all perturbed---I have chickens and have
    howled with laughter over this a bunch of times.   It's so simple and the birds aren't forced to do any stupid, unnatural behavior.   They are being very chicken-like.   Some of these worry-wort, pinhead business types are WAY too serious in their analysis of "correctness"

  • JMaxx2

    What was Mercedes thinking?  Not on brand, not funny - I'm sure animal rights activists will have a field day.  

  • douglaspaul

    well it was fun however i don't know if that's the image that mercedez wants to send. i have never placed them in that category. they're not a fun car brand. interesting that they would go in this direction. they stand for luxury. there's nothing luxurious about this ad.

  • Kevin R Foote

    What a great tie-in between branded content, brand promise, and great technical demonstration!  I'm not sure it is spot-on with the MB brand character, but close enough. It underscores that MB knows a lot about stability control.  Now, let's imagine what could be next in the series of this campaign. The traction control of a frightened platypus?