Jaguar Spoofs Mercedes' Chicken Ad


It’s always fun to see car marketers duke it out, be in on billboards (and the occasional balloon) or ever-popular ads gone viral. Audi is usually the one taking swipes at its German competitors, but Jaguar has the latest ad — and it goes right after the icon of all luxury sedans, Mercedes-Benz’s redesigned S-Class.

Naturally, you’d expect to see lots of fast-paced shots where an XJ thumps an S550 ’round the Nürburgring, no? Well, there’s none of that. In fact, no single vehicle is shown.

But there are chickens. Lots of chickens.

It goes like this. Mercedes’ 45-second spot, released last September, depicts a white-gloved handler moving a chicken around a dark stage to the tune of Diana Ross’ “Upside Down.” The chicken’s head stays in the same place, more or less — because, as trade publication Advertising Age explains, chickens lack an ocular system that allows them to maintain stationary vision if they move, so their heads have to stay put in a sort of gyroscopic isolation. The parallel is Magic Body Control, which arms the S-Class’ active suspension with windshield cameras to detect upcoming bumps, prepare the suspension and isolate the car from as much movement as possible. “Stability at all times,” the ad proclaims near the end. “Magic Body Control.”

Three months later, Jaguar released an ad that starts almost identically … and unravels from there. Jaguar even mimics Mercedes’ font. See for yourself:

We had to chuckle. Mercedes has yet to cry fowl with a response of its own, but it still wins the popularity contest. As of Thursday, the German automaker’s chicken spot ruled the roost with 8.3 million YouTube views. Jaguar’s riposte — which makes little sense if you haven’t see the Mercedes ad — had 2 million.

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Former Assistant Managing Editor-News Kelsey Mays likes quality, reliability, safety and practicality. But he also likes a fair price. Email Kelsey Mays

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