Mercedes Makes A Fail, Loses Cuban Customers & Anyone With A Sense Of Humour


“Some colleagues still think that car-sharing borders on communism, but if this is a revolution, then ‘Viva la revolucion!’.”

Those were the words of Dieter Zetsche, Diamler-Benz CEO at CES while talking about car sharing. After that, an image of Che Guevara appeared on the big screen with the communist red star replaced by the three pointed star of Mercedes-Benz. Uh-oh.

Upon it’s publicity, Cuban exiles in Florida and elsewhere began to stage massive boycotts and express their shock. But it isn’t just Cuban’s who are crying afoul of the offensive marketing, other customers and consumers simply fail to find it funny. Yes, the line was intended to be a joke. It took a good five minutes of head scratching and comment reading for myself to finally figure out the meaning, let alone figure out Zetsche’s point about car sharing. What does car sharing have to do with anything at CES?

It’s disturbing not only because of what Che represents (it isn’t as if he killed innocent people or encouraged violence and warfare or anything of that nature right?), but also because for such a respected car maker to allow something like this to slip through the cracks and land on a big screen as part of a promotion, it’s just as embarrassing as it is offensive.

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