Brand encounter instead of exhibition – entirely new trade fair concept puts the focus on the customer

Aug 30, 2019

Stuttgart/Frankfurt. At the German International Motor Show (IAA) from 10 until 22 September 2019 in Frankfurt am Main, Mercedes-Benz Cars & Vans will present a totally new brand experience in the Frankfurt Festhalle. Key themes will include connectivity, sustainability and quality of life. At the heart of the concept are four "experience spaces", which take the visitor on a trip through the brand world and mobility of tomorrow.

"The format of the trade fair needs to be constantly rethought with a feel for the zeitgeist of our society and the current issues facing it. And that is precisely what we are doing at the IAA this year. We focus more than ever on the needs of the people", says Bettina Fetzer, Head of Marketing Mercedes-Benz Cars. "In Frankfurt we are showing, how we meet the customers’ desire for an intuitive, seamless and sustainable mobility that at the same time enables them to experience luxury."

Mercedes-Benz continues to view the motor show as a key marketing tool with which to bring many people into contact with the brand in a short time and to inspire them. At the 2017 German International Motor Show for Passenger Cars, for example, the trade fair stand was visited by around 830,000 people in two weeks. Market research shows that a large proportion of the visitors were interested in purchasing a car within the next two years. However, the needs of customers are changing. Particularly in the age of digitalisation, real, physical encounters with the brand are taking on ever greater importance. Mercedes-Benz is addressing these new challenges with a surprising show in the Festhalle while making the brand accessible with some emotively appealing experiences. This approach is also apparent in how the exhibition space is configured. The new trade fair concept consists 25% of show areas for vehicles and world premieres in the "Forum" and 75% of a multi-storey exhibition structure with four large experience spaces in the Festhalle. The total trade fair stand covers around 8,800 square metres.

The brand becomes an experience – and triggers emotions

In the first section of its trade fair stand, Mercedes-Benz lets customers experience its products in the Forum of the Festhalle in Frankfurt, where the product highlights and, in particular, the world premiere vehicles are presented in clearly arranged brand zones, from Mercedes-Maybach to Mercedes-AMG, Mercedes-EQ and smart to Mercedes-Benz.

"Our products have been valued and respected around the world for over 130 years. Yet our brand also stands for great emotion and enjoyment. That is why we are making Mercedes-Benz more accessible than ever before at the IAA – a real favourite brand for present and future customers", says Bettina Fetzer.

Forging an emotional bond with the brand – that is at the heart of the Mercedes presence in the Festhalle. Under the motto "Pioneering the future. By Mercedes-Benz since 1886", screens in the entrance area present examples of Mercedes moments from over 130 years. After that, visitors can look forward to an adventure trip through four themed spaces, which are represented by the keywords "Intuitive", "Energize", "Excite" and "Responsible". They make it possible to experience the revolutionary development in mobility that will take place in the coming years. The inventor of the automobile will also pioneer the transformation of the future. Mercedes-Benz understands the challenges of the future, knows the desires of its customers and offers innovative and intelligent solutions.

Seamless mobility 

Under the heading "Intuitive. Seamless Connectivity", the first exhibition space gives an insight into what seamless mobility means at Mercedes-Benz. Of special importance are the core messages of the CASE strategy (Connectivity, Autonomous, Shared & Services, Electric). Mercedes-Benz interconnects these future themes and technologies to develop intuitively usable services and systems. The exhibition space provides an insight into the seamless mobility of the future, in which many different modes of transport – from public transport to sharing and ride hailing to private vehicles – will be interconnected. This provides travellers with a host of efficient, competitively priced and flexible options for getting from A to B. This world of seamless mobility is symbolised by a thread sculpture with fine silver lines in the form of a network that crosses the space. 

The car as a place of retreat 

In an age in which ever greater efficiency and speed are in demand, intangible values such as time and tranquillity are becoming increasingly important to people. This is where the vehicle plays a significant role. It becomes a "third place" for retreat and recuperation, adjusting to the mood and needs of the occupants. This explains why the second exhibition space carries the motto "Energize. Luxury of All Senses". The space immerses the visitor in a warm, organically formed world in which the colour and lighting mood responds and changes in harmony with the needs of the visitors. This makes for an interactive exhibit: visitors can let their own pulse rate and emotional state influence the light colour and atmosphere in the space while experiencing in a fun way how ENERGIZING comfort control works in a Mercedes vehicle. 

The vehicle as a "mobile device" 

Under the heading "Excite. Inspiring Experiences", the third space is dominated by inspirational experiences. The focus is on personalised interaction with the vehicle made possible by digitalisation. With new technologies, platforms and entertainment formats, the car is increasingly evolving into an interface between the analogue and digital worlds – transforming into a "mobile device". This is where in-car gaming, for example, plays an important role. The space is dominated visually by a series of suspended spheres, the form of which also pops up in the presented gaming realisations. It forms a holistic transition between physical and animated objects, between the analogue and the digital. 

New concepts – new quality of life 

The cityscape is changing. Whereas, in the past, the desire for a car-friendly city was dominant, the focus is shifting to the demand for a new interaction between mobility solutions. Autonomous and sustainable concepts have the potential to create space in urban areas. This makes room for green areas and new innovative approaches to living and shopping. With this in mind, the fourth experience space goes under the motto "Responsible. Pioneering Sustainable Luxury". On guided tours, this lets visitors experience how mobility will change in the coming years – from zero-emissions driving to new vehicle and mobility concepts to autonomous driving. 

Viewed as a whole from the main stand of the Festhalle, the four experience spaces together create the vision of a liveable city of the future. Also on show is the appropriate vehicle for each of the themes presented in the spaces. LED façades add interactive elements, while there are additional live elements on the stage. Overall, the visitor becomes a part of the show, an inhabitant of the city of the future. 

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