It is Saturday noon in Singapore. The weather is perfect for basking in the sun and the surrounding lush greeneries of PS. Cafe’s tranquil outdoor space in Dempsey Hill is a stark contrast from my night before at Ultra Singapore, the two-day EDM festival. We may have partied for seven hours the night prior, but we are raring to go again. For now, I’m seated with Mark Raine, vice president of sales and marketing at Mercedes-Benz, Malaysia, recounting the events of the night, and noting the phenomenal growth of the luxury marque’s Urban Hunting campaign since it began four years ago.
“It’s not just about EDM music. We’ve also collaborated with street artists and subculture movements,” explains Raine, as he paints the framework for this campaign. “Urban Hunting is a platform we created for our compact cars, our most progressive models, and it links back to the mindset of the people who love these cars. It’s about the music, the art, fashion, and nightlife … the social lifestyle that people enjoy. So when Ultra Singapore reached out to us in 2016 and asked whether we wanted to collaborate, it was a win-win situation.”
The New Normal
No longer appealing only to corporate superstars and formidable mafias, Mercedes-Benz has spent much of the last decade reinventing its brand and crafting a fresh perspective within the automotive landscape, successfully shifting the focus from cars. Take the Grow Up campaign for example, introduced last year alongside an expanded compact car line-up. Not only are the five short videos from the campaign specifically filmed to capture the cool effortlessness of young adults, they also feature rapper A$AP Rocky in one, with a CLA Coupé as the co-star, proclaiming the joys of freedom and responsibility that come with being a grown-up.
BAZAAR has been with Mercedes-Benz since the conception of the Urban Hunting x Ultra Singapore collaboration in 2016, and it is evident how the Mercedes-Benz brand closely intetwines with this “social lifestyle” that Raine speaks of. I fell in love with the high-performing Mercedes-AMG GLA 45 the first time I zipped away from a traffic stop in the turbocharged 2.0-litre beauty; I’ve marvelled at the automaker’s raging launch parties; and I’ve witnessed the pronounced yet sophisticated ways Mercedes-Benz has attempted to appeal to a younger subset of car owners.
“Urban Hunting, and this collaboration with Ultra, is about fostering that progressive element within the Mercedes-Benz brand,” Raine declares. “People who go for these festivals are opinion leaders. So, if they say, ‘Mercedes-Benz is cool,’ even if they may not be buying, people look up to them, and see what they think is good.”
To the Ultra party-goer, the towering Mercedes-Benz logo is hard to miss. Placed strategically at the top corner of its hospitality suite, the two-storey space acts as the perfect respite from overwhelmingly sweaty festival goers, while still offering a sweeping view of the epic acts. For Raine, the Urban Hunting events have always carried veins of continuation. A year after Mercedes-Benz brought Australian DJ at Ultra, reliving the same exhilarating high we experienced then.
From trap god RL Grime’s ecstasy-filled beats to the finale of awe-inspiring fireworks lighting up in the sky as Above & Beyond played their last few minutes, the weekend-to-remember echoed Raine’s vision for the Urban Hunting campaign–a progressive state of mind that transcends the framework of a vehicle, and embraces a lifestyle that’s always on the go, always in the spotlight.