Mercedes celebrates Bertha Benz, a true female pioneer

It’s International Women’s Day, and Mercedes-Benz – keen to throw off its old-man image – has employed Bertha Benz to help celebrate.

Bertha was not just the wife of the car company’s founder, she was also his business partner, and the first person to drive a car over a long distance.

As this ad by Antoni Garage in Berlin shows, Benz wanted to prove the potential of her husband’s invention, and set off on a 65-mile trip to her parent’s house back in 1888, at a time when automobiles were a rare sight.

Along the way she had to deal with people shouting “witch” at her, and stop to refuel at a pharmacy, which still enjoys its claim to fame as the world’s first gas station.

Bettina Fetzer, vice-president marketing at Mercedes-Benz, said: “It was important to my team to depict Bertha Benz as a strong woman and timeless role model. Bertha was a pioneer and our first test driver. Her courage, and her refusal to give up, inspire me very much. With our film we want to motivate people to go through life with a similarly positive, hands-on approach and to tackle challenges with confidence.”

MAA creative scale: 8.5

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About Emma Hall

Emma Hall
Emma Hall is the former London Editor of Ad Age, where she covered European marketing advertising, digital and media stories. She has written for newspapers including the Financial Times, The Guardian, The Times and the Telegraph, and was previously a section editor at Campaign. Emma started her career in New York as a researcher for a biography of Keith Richards.