Mercedes-Benz stopped using its Sound Logo at the end of 2009 just after two years in the market. In an interview conducted by W&V (Werben&Verkaufen, one of the leading German Marketing/ Advertising Magazines) in issue 4/2010 Mr. Anders-Sundt Jensen said, after he was asked why they stopped using the Sound Logo: “It is obvious that you always question whether you have achieved certain objectives. Regarding the Sound Logo we have analyzed that the brand Mercedes-Benz is strong enough without one.”
I do not know how they analyzed the Sound Logo respectively the power of the brand Mercedes-Benz. But one is for sure the remarks of Mr. Jensen regarding the Sound Logo issue reflect how little Sound Branding is understood. If Mercedes-Benz constructs an electric car wrongly and thus the car does not run, will they say “Electric cars are not suitable for everyday use”?
The Mercedes-Benz Sound Logo was produced with a sound library! Thus it did not have a unique, individual sound character – an important basis for sound branding. They didn’t even want to afford the boys choir, or rather they were consulted poorly. It was a ready-made product! This case shows how important the professional handling of sound branding is. The “how” is critical – a simple melody with a replaceable sound is not sufficient! In analogy to design, requirements like brand fit, differentiation, and recognition have to be fulfilled. Moreover they should have tested the Sound Logo before using it on a worldwide level.
During the last years acoustic brand management has developed into an independent discipline; like others this case shows why. Is this swamping the competencies of an advertising agency? Is this an issue demanding for specialists? Or asked differently why are Mercedes-Benz cars designed by car designers and not by their advertising agency?