Whatever happened to ‘engineered like no other’?

My colleague Steve Cropley last week asked this about Mercedes-Benz’s erstwhile advertising strapline, which was first mentioned in promotional copy in 1956 (with ‘…in the world’ on the end) and which routinely accompanied the company’s publicity until 1995.

It was followed, if you remember, by ‘the best or nothing’, a more nothing than best phrase that still gets airtime today. It’s the title of a page on Mercedes’ US website at least, although it doesn’t highlight the end of any new adverts I’ve seen.

Today, online, where most adverts are viewed, Mercedes ads are mostly signed off only by the three-pointed star and a clickable link to a relevant web page. Sometimes there’s a different, model-appropriate slogan like the also forgettable ‘so AMG’.

There isn’t, then, an overarching single Mercedes message – one thing that you must associate with the brand every time you see it.

Maybe in a world where the model range and the selling of it have both changed so much and where old-school engineering sits behind, say, style or connectivity, Mercedes doesn’t think lasting consistency matters like it once did. It still shouts about engineering today, but mostly through its Formula 1 team. 

The world’s two other best-known automotive practitioners of the slogan art aren’t yet ready to give them up. 

BMW has toyed with a few different phrases but primarily retains the same ‘Freude am Fahren’ (‘sheer driving pleasure’) line it first used in 1965, adjusting it to ‘the ultimate driving machine’ for its two biggest English-speaking markets, the US and the UK, in 1972.