Henry Rollins Arm-Wrestles Sydney Mayor Clover Moore In New Mercedes-Benz Doco By The Royals

Henry Rollins Arm-Wrestles Sydney Mayor Clover Moore In New Mercedes-Benz Doco By The Royals

To launch its first ute in a category built on stereotypical toughness, Mercedes-Benz Vans is challenging category norms with an integrated campaign, ‘Tough Conversations’.

For decades, the ute segment has prided itself on the physical characteristics associated with ‘toughness’.

Mercedes-Benz Vans and The Royals set out to challenge these stereotypes in the launch campaign for the new Mercedes-Benz X-Class by exploring what toughness means today, with help from iconic punk rocker Henry Rollins.

The ‘Tough Conversations’ campaign includes a podcast series, radio partnership, PR, eDMs, social and online content, and a one-hour documentary to air on ONE in April.

The documentary will also be available to stream on TenPlay, while the podcast is available on Apple iTunes, Android, Spotify, and all other podcast platforms.

To create the content, Mercedes-Benz Vans commissioned Rollins to take a road trip across the country, talking to Australians from all walks of life about what toughness means to them.

‘Tough Conversations’ explores the evolution of toughness to encompass not just strength, aggression and towing capability, but resolve, overcoming adversity and strength of character.

Its intention is to shine a light on the reality that toughness can come in many forms. By highlighting the evolution of ‘tough’ – a highly-valued Aussie trait – Mercedes-Benz aims to reflect the values of a more progressive audience and connect with a new type of ute driver

Diane Tarr, CEO and managing director of Mercedes-Benz Vans Australia & New Zealand, said the was an opportunity to celebrate a modern kind of toughness.

“To launch the X-Class in a mature ute market like Australia, we knew we needed to do something different to get Australians to understand that the X-Class stands for something more than the stereotypical toughness,” she said.

“We’ve all been really moved by the conversations Henry had on the road. He is a true embodiment of the evolution of tough and that makes him the perfect person to lead these conversations.

“He also has an ability like nobody else to get to the heart of a conversation, and to delve deep. We’re thrilled we can now share this with Australian audiences.”

The Royals creative partner Nick Cummins said: “The X-Class ute is the first of its kind. It’s a new kind of tough. This got us thinking about Australians and tough.

“Many Australians are sick of the outdated stereotype of what tough means – hiding your emotions or working out at the gym till something bursts.

“To explore what tough really means to Australians today, we turned to Henry Rollins – a man who has evolved from a head-butting, fist-fighting frontman to an intellectual touring the world with his Spoken Word concerts, challenging outdated beliefs and traditions.

“Henry has a curious mind and a way of drawing stories out of all kinds of people that have led to an intriguing exploration and some really tough conversations.”


Client: Mercedes-Benz Vans Australia

CEO and managing director: Diane Tarr

Head of product and marketing: Sabine Wagner

Marketing manager: Katherine Gracey

PR and corporate communications manager: Blake Vincent

Creative: The Royals

Creative partner: Nick Cummins

Managing partner: Andrew Siwka

Group account director: Clara Tang

Head of strategy: Michaela Futcher

Head of customer experience: Mikaël Perhirin

Planning director: Matt Davies

Communications director: Andrew Reeves

Senior copywriter: Lewis Farrar

Senior art director: Adam Frazer

Digital strategist: Chrissie Malloch

Senior account manager: Jade Mittermair

Senior broadcast producer: Fiona Gillies

PR: Of Character

Managing director: Kate Dinon

Head of media relations: Sarah Green

Production: FINCH

Executive producers: Michael Hilliard and Corey Esse

Director: Christopher Nelius

Director of production: Jordan Maddocks

Producer: Clare McGrath

Editor: Julie-Anne de Ruvo

Sound: Risk Sound

Sound designer: Dylan Stephens

Original music: Blessed

Podcast production and distribution: Whooshkaa

Content director: Corey Layton

Executive producer: Jess Bineth

Producer: Jess Hamilton

Sound engineer: Adam Connelly

Photography and videography: Safari

Photographer and content director: Andrew Englisch

Producer: Nigel Camilleri

Media: Foundation


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