Mercedes Flees Image Of ‘Yuppie Excess’

Mercedes-Benz, the luxury car that helped define a decade and later became a symbol of yuppie excess, is racing at autobahn speed to redo its image and appeal to younger, hipper drivers.

The North American unit of Stuttgart, Germany-based Daimler-Benz AG just introduced its redesigned “E cars” in the U.S. with a flurry of ads designed to forge an emotional bond with consumers.

In one spot set to Nat King Cole’s “L-O-V-E,” cherubs fall head-over-heels in love with the E320. In another, a man driving an E420 passes up a beautiful woman, Martians and even Ed McMahon holding a check for $10 million because driving is just “too much fun to stop.”

Other ads feature Hollywood icons - Errol Flynn, Marlene Dietrich, Bing Crosby, Gary Cooper and Yul Brynner - who’ve owned Mercedes cars in the past, all sadly “born too soon” to experience the 1996 E-class model.

Recently, irked consumers complained about the company’s use of Janis Joplin singing “Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes-Benz?”

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