A hyped Mercedes-Benz Super Bowl ad – a scantily-clad Kate Upton blows soap suds while high school football players wash her new 2014 CLA car and ogle her – is causing quite a stir.
The luxury carmaker posted the ad to its Facebook page and wrote "What’s hot? The Mercedes-Benz CLA. What’s hotter? Kate Upton washing it in slow motion." Despite the fact Upton's not actually doing the washing (the football players are), the post triggered both praise and criticism online.
Many users said the ad isn't appropriate for Mercedes' target audience, calling it classless.
"It's horrible...not your market at all. Pull it and replace it with something with class...this is sleez!.. it is Carl's Junior sleez...are you selling burgers, halftime snacks, or luxury cars?" said one woman from Yukon, Okla., in reference to the 2005 Carl's Jr ad featuring a nearly naked Paris Hilton eating a thick, double cheeseburger.
Another woman from Santa Clara, Calif., shared that sentiment, writing, "Jesus, Mercedes. That is pathetic. Whoever came up with this and whoever signed off on it should be fired. Damn shame that most car purchasing decisions are made by women, and you just flipped off that demographic. I guess your cars are so bad that you can't sell them based on their own merits."
Not everyone was critical of the new commercial, though. Unsurprisingly, men responded favorably to the ad on Facebook:
"Great commercial give the guy that thought of this a raise," said one man from Siloam Springs, Ark.
"There is nothing wrong with the commercial. I even find it amusing. Some people just need to get a life," said another man from Lebanon, Tenn.
Meanwhile, a man from La Luz, N.M., wrote that the ad wasn't sexy enough.
The disagreement, however, wasn't exclusively gender-based, with one woman from Allendale, S.C., commenting: "What's so wrong with the commercial? Grow up. Don't be mad because its not you in the commercial. I don't see what the fuss is about. There is nothing wrong with the commercial. Good job Mercedes."
The number of comments that were critical of the Mercedes-Benz ad far exceeded those that were complimentary, with woman writing longer posts than their male counterparts.
Of course, the observations weren't limited to sexual innuendos, with some criticizing Mercedes for who they chose to star in the commercial.
"I don't get the rage around Kate Upton, there are thousands of girls better looking than her," said one man named Birmingham, Ala.
Another from Argentina took the criticism to the next level.
"Any Argentinian girl that walk in the street, is cuter than this elegant-less woman... I love the new CLA," he wrote.
The Michigan-born Upton is known for her appearance in the 2011 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, where she was named Rookie of the Year by the magazine's editorial board.
The controversial commercial will run during the Super Bowl on Sunday Feb. 3.
As of December of 2012, Mercedes is no longer beating out BMW in luxury car sales.
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