The Smart fortwo is justly renowned for its fuel-sipping ways and its agile handling. But no-one has ever suggested it was a high-performance car.
Until now, that is.
Mercedes-Benz Canada, in a tongue-in-cheek video ad, put an electric version of the Smart fortwo up against an Audi, a Mustang and a Porsche Boxster in a drag race and guess what won?
Of course the factory hot rods smoked the Smart over the full length of a drag strip. But the little car that could was in front through the first five metres – about half way across a typical intersection.
That stoplight bravado, not top-end speed, is what really matters in the cut and thrust of city driving where "zippiness" matters most, the company smirks.
"While the campaign is light-hearted, it nevertheless conveys important messages about the smart’s multi-talented abilities to conquer all facets of urban driving," says Peter Ignazi, senior vice-president and executive creative director for BBDO Toronto, which created the ad.
The Smart fortwo electric drive is powered by a 55kW permanent-magnet motor that eliminates shift delays and produces maximum torque at the instant of start, giving the little car its surprising kick off the line.
This video is at the heart of a national integrated marketing campaign that comprises online, social media and print variants.
The campaign also includes large vertical Smart branded electric drive charging station signs that resemble a gas station price signs, which will be placed at three different locations in the Toronto area in July and August.
In addition, Smart is running a contest to support the mission of increasing the number of charging stations in Canada. The grand prize will be aa trip to Rome – which the company calls, "the ultimate Smart city."
People can enter the contest by nominating a location for a future charging station. Contest details, as well a look at the video, can be found at the smartcityproject.ca.