First, an admission. Until very recently we had never been truly moved by the brand that is Mercedes-Benz. We can’t help but acknowledge the noble heritage of the marque, nor the fact that they make some of the most outrageously, mechanically, stoically and teutonically beautiful cars ever created. It’s just that the thing signified has never for us been truly and properly evoked by the signifier. In other words, until recently, we have never fully bought into the brand values espoused by the three pointed star.
Apparently, the logo’s three abstracted cardinal points represents the company’s intent on dominating land, sea and air. It might seem a little, shall we say, fascistic an impulse to encode into your logo – but you’ve got to remember that the brand was created at a time when German imperialism was spilling out all over the planet and coming head to head with that good ole’ British imperial impulse. Yes, Mercedes-Benz’s earliest creations where fully crystallised aspects of the Age of Empire – when progress was all about going further, faster, higher, – and subjugating anyone or any thing that might dare to get in the way of the establishment.
And there’s something of this road-ruling aesthetic that survives to this day in the vehicles Merc produces, right from the mini-titan of the A-class right through to the forest roaming Unimogs and SLS supercars that eat up the autobahns of the planet.
Could it be that as Lewis Hamilton fans, we’re starting to buy into the brand through celebrity association with motorsport? It could be. But it could also be a bit of simple maturity on our part. No more for us is automotive passion the sole preserve of the Roman – or the straightline focussed brutality of Americana.
We suppose everyone in the end, aspires to own a Mercedes.
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