Merc's Citan becomes unwittingly controversial
I never thought I’d see the day when the Mercedes-Benz Citan was at the centre of a Twitter-storm, but just days in to 2016 and the smallest Merc van has been placed centre stage in a furore.
There are only a few reasons not to like the Mercedes Citan: It’s a copy of a Renault Kangoo, with a fancy badge; it has an annoyingly upright dashboard; and despite Mercedes changing many things about it, they kept the bonkers, space-consuming sideways handbrake.
One thing I, or Mercedes, would not have anticipated though, was the uproar one of its adverts has created.
It was launched with a cringe-making association to TV Show MacGyver – a series now so unwatched and irrelevant in the UK that many only know of it through The Simpsons cartoon thanks to its MacGyver superfans Patty and Selma Bouvier. But it’s not this loose brand association that has caused a stir, nor is it the current campaign as such.
Mercedes is currently pushing the Citan with huge billboards in towns and cities, and is occupying the prime zig-zag billboard in Earls Court on the A4 with an ambitious and bold display. The problem is further along the very same stretch of road (on the elevated section that is actually the M4), where the Citan has replaced an iconic advertisement.
York House, a five-storey building in Brentford, was once home to the Lucozade sign, a prominent neon sign that dates back to 1953 of a pouring bottle and logo with the slogan ‘replaces lost energy’.
Sadly the landmark advert has been swapped for a new digital billboard and it is fair to say local residents, Londoners and social media are a little upset about it. Officials at Hounslow Council have even reportedly launched a probe into whether planning laws have been broken.
Far from it being the Citan’s, or Mercedes’ fault, all of a sudden its causing a quite commotion for all the wrong reasons.