Mercedes’ Nintendo Mario Kart Product Placement Ad

It may be more of a product placement and a product launch alliance, but Mercedes’ partnership with Nintendo sees its GLA Crossover feature in the new ‘Mario Kart 8’ game.


Not only did the German upmarket automaker’s new GLA Crossover appear alongside the legendary cartoon character at its Japanese launch event, but more interestingly the vehicle is embedded into the Mario Kart 8 game itself.


The in-game action offers a free to download DLC car in Mario Kart 8.


To promote the dual product launch partnership, Mario appears in a new, blended live-action and computer animated 30-second Mercedes TV spot in Japan featuring both an 8-bit GLA and a real life Mario.



Furthermore, the country’s Mercedes’ ‘Go GLA’ website, developed for the promotion, features classic NES Super Mario Bros. Visuals (complete with Mario in a Mercedes squashing Goombas).


The partnership also produced this 30 second commercial spot featuring both an 8-bit GLA and a real-life Mario. It’s exactly as weird as you might expect a Japanese Mario-themed Mercedes commercial to be.


Initially this alliance began in Japan, but it has since rolled out across other markets




After what financial analysts generally consider to have been a disappointing fiscal year, Nintendo recently aired its vision for the future which included announcing a new approach to game-related commercial partnerships and a fresh approach to character IP and licensing opportunities across their gaming stable.


This tie-in with the upmarket German auto brand appears to be the first iteration of that new tactic.


Nintendo certainly isn’t the first video game/console brand to integrate product promotion into its games.


Indeed, its Pikmin 2 was rammed with licensed items (which players actually had to find), while Wave Race 64 prominently featured Kawasaki jet skis.


But it does seem slightly odd to see the soft, child-friendly Mario universe populated by a real-world, very adult-oriented car.


But while it makes some sense for the games maker to ally with a car marquee on its classic and long-running racing game, one wonders whether the playful tone and light-hearted, cartoon buffoonery of the Mario character and the whacky kart racing nature of the gaming action genuinely represents a good fit for the upmarket, stylish and sedate Mercedes brand.


Is there really sufficient synergy between the values and positioning of these two partners?




Mercedes GLA Mario Cart Japan TVC YouTube



Mercedes ‘Go GLA’ Japanese Website



Mercedes-Benz Website



Mario Kart 8 Website



Nintendo Website



Featured Showcases