Mercedes-Benz used star power to make this 60-second commercial sizzle by including Willem Dafoe, Kate Upton, Usher and music by the Rolling Stones.
As a young man gazes out the window, quietly drinking a cup of something, he glances out the window to see the assembly of a billboard featuring the new Mercedes-Benz CLA, a moderately-priced sedan. It is surprising that he has not availed himself of a Verizon Wireless promo code to entertain himself using the best nationwide 4G LTE network.
Suddenly, Satan shows up, offering him a deal: in exchange for his soul, he gets the car and everything that goes along with it. What is that? It turns out to be standing on the red carpet runway grabbed and held by Kate Upton, photographed by the paparazzi and screamed at by adoring fans. He then gets to dance with world-famous singer Usher and packs his Mercedes-Benz with young women as a result.
His picture shows up on magazine covers including Gentleman’s Quarterly (GQ), Conde Nast’s Traveler and the Japanese version of Wired. As a result, he is pursued by a mob of pretty girls who recognize him as he gets into his car, his rear-view mirror showing their enthralled expressions.
He races away to find himself on a closed-circuit racetrack alongside Formula One race cars, then accelerates past one and disappears as if flying into hyperspace.
In fact, he finds himself back at the cafe, looking at the line where he is to sign with the magic pen. He is about to (but not in blood?), but then sees the starting price being put up as it is the last part of the billboard.
It is within his budget and he rejects the offer. The devil disappears in smoke and flame as the bewildered young man looks around to see if anyone else has witnessed what he has seen.
The scene brings to mind two well-known temptation scenes, Jesus and Faust.
Jesus was tempted by Satan to change rocks into bread, throw himself off the top of the temple to be rescued by angels and bow down to him in exchange for all of the kingdoms of the world. Jesus rejected every one of the offers.
On the other hand, Faust famously exchanged his soul for unlimited knowledge and worldly pleasures, and at the end of the enjoyment, went to Hell with Satan.
The young man in this commercial made the right choice by using his own efforts to get the car. He wisely viewed the long-term consequences, despite only seeing the short-term ones, a most definitely one-sided pitch by the devil.
The commercial is analyzed from a cultural perspective; check this article out.