Globally, Mercedes-Benz and BMW are the two leading brands in the Luxury Car segment. These two car companies have constantly fought tooth and nail in decades to be in pole position as the most favorable luxury brand. Hence, we have gathered a sizable content sample to provide media insights on both.

In the year 2018 alone, the car sales volume of Mercedes-Benz was nine percent more than BMW. Mercedes-Benz has been ahead of BMW for the past 3 years consecutively.

The car sales volume of the two-luxury car brands will again be a tight competition this year. Nevertheless, the defiant BMW has somehow turned the tide with better car sales achievement.

The year-to-date (January – July 2019) car sales for BMW was reported to have sold 1,436,382 units in their recent announcement. That is 112,796 cars more than Mercedes-Benz in the same period.

In Mercedes-Benz’s latest announcement, it has reported 1,323,586 cars sold worldwide. So, BMW is leading the race, at least for the time being.

Could BMW break the 3 years jinx and ultimately topple Mercedes-Benz globally by year-end? It will be an exciting time to watch the release of announcements by both companies come early 2020.

Meanwhile, in the Malaysian market, an opposing outlook showed on Mercedes-Benz’s higher car sales than BMW. From January – June 2019, Mercedes-Benz has sold 5,640 compared to BMW’s 5,035. Of which a similar trend is found in Mercedes-Benz’s media effort advantage over BMW of the same period.

In this case study, we will break down some areas to highlight the advantages Mercedes-Benz have over BMW. We’ll provide an overview of the two premium car brands from a media perspective.

Media Insights 1: ROME (RM) and Volume

Media Insights 1: ROME (RM) and Volume

Mercedes-Benz Marginal ROME Advantage at 3.6%

The ringgit Malaysia media value in ROME is a CommSightsMedia Insights methodology. Mercedes-Benz’s ROME garnered 51.8%, which is 3.6% higher than BMW.

On the general view, there is no substantial advantage on the marginal difference gained by Mercedes-Benz in comparison to BMW’s ROME.

Mercedes-Benz with an Insignificant Difference of 0.4% Volume

The competition between both brands worldwide has trickled-down to the local scene. With both car companies going head-to-head in the media over space and recognition, the article volume separating both is only at 0.4%.

Mercedes-Benz with Higher Media Spent (Estimate) by 3.1%

With the conversion of each news dimension and range matching against each media title’s rate card, an estimate of media spent per news could be re-constructed. (The dimension and range are either the cm x column, prime time 30-sec block or the cost per sponsored online page).

In this area, as in other cases, Mercedes-Benz found to have higher media spent by 3.1% against BMW. While this estimate may not be a real media spent figure but it is comparing apples to apples.

Takeaway on ROME and Volume Comparison

Although the ROME, Volume, and Media Spent (Estimate) numbers of both car companies for the 1st half of 2019 were deemed negligible, there are a few other areas to note.

  • Mercedes-Benz’s Media Spent (Estimate) doesn’t move in tandem with Volume.
  • Mercedes-Benz’s contributed the higher sum of ROME despite marginally higher Volume.
  • Mercedes-Benz’s Media Spent (Estimate) has positive co-relations to ROME achievement.

Media Insights 2: Journalist

Two-third has Article Byline

68% of the article content displayed article byline, while the remaining 32% is without.

Daniel Sherman Fernandez topped with 31 articles. He writes for Drive Safe & Fast (DS&F), Asian Auto, Automacha, BFM and Free Malaysia Today.

Adrian Chia, at 2nd placed, has written 27 articles in AutoBuzz. On the 3rd is Amirul Mukminin with 24 articles. He writes for Gohed Gosttan and DS&F.

Sharing the 3rd position are Subhash Nair and Mohamad Hanif, whom they wrote for DS&F and Careta respectively.

Mercedes-Benz with Higher Article Byline

51.1% of the total byline wrote about Mercedes-Benz while the remaining 48.9% wrote of BMW. The variance is merely 2.2% between both companies. The conclusion is both companies are about equally likable brands to reporters.    

Takeaway on Journalist Coverage

From the entire content analyzed, it is only 160 names of journalists were visible for media analysis. Providing a list of journalists who have authored content with twice the volume of the other luxury car. Here’s the top 10.

  • In favor of Mercedes-Benz
    1. Thoriq
    2. Arman Ahmad
    3. Won
    4. Gerard Lye
    5. Amirul Azreen
    6. Thomas Huong
    7. Rahimi Yunus
    8. Anthony Lim
    9. Eric
    10. Arjuna Chandran Shankar
  • In favor of BMW
    1. Mohd Zaky Zainuddin
    2. Lisa Kuok
    3. Chris Wee
    4. Gokul
    5. Tan Zhi Jian
    6. Ahmad Zulizwan
    7. Faizul Hakimi Zulkifli
    8. Tom Goh
    9. Aswan
    10. Ajay Singh

Media Insights 3: Share of Voice

Media Insights showed only 8.9% Shared Content

Only 8.9% of the content has both Mercedes-Benz and BMW mentioned together. It is common for the writers to make car comparisons of a similar segment or class.

Mercedes-Benz enjoyed 45.7% of coverage without comparison made to BMW. That’s a tiny 0.3% advantage over BMW’s 45.4%.

Takeaway for Share of Voice

BMW gained a better advantage in terms of content with a greater quality appearance for the shared content. BMW enjoyed a substantial 70.7% of its content with stronger headline presence, more visual / images (mostly car displays) and higher lead paragraph appearance.

The highest contributors of content with a greater quality appearance in favor of BMW were Hans (Carlist) and Adrian Chia (AutoBuzz). Meanwhile, the highest contributors in favor of Mercedes-Benz were Daniel Sherman Fernandez (DS&F), Hezeri Samsuri (Careta) and Rahimi Yunus (The Malaysian Reserve).

In the space where there is no comparison between the two companies, Mercedes-Benz has the slight upper hand of headline presence, visual / images, and lead paragraph appearance. Mercedes-Benz recorded a 50.7% against BMW’s 49.3%.

Media Insights 4: Language

Mercedes-Benz Leads the English & Chinese Titles

Mercedes-Benz enjoyed a higher percentage in English and Chinese media titles, with 59% and 21.4% respectively. In comparison to BMW’s 57.7% and 16.3% respectively.

BMW Leads the Malay Title

BMW has the advantage over Mercedes-Benz on the Malay media title. It has garnered 26%, a higher percentage compared to Mercedes-Benz’s 19.6%.

Takeaway on Language Comparison

The primary audience, English readers, for both companies may seem to be identical. The secondary audience for BMW is the Malay readers while Mercedes-Benz focused on the Chinese segment.

  • Both companies have about two-third of the coverage focused on online space and mainstream only one-third in the English medium.
  • The mainstream coverage for Mercedes-Benz is more than half, contrarily to BMW’s less than half for Chinese medium,
  • As for the Malay medium, the online coverage of BMW is about two-third while it is about four-fifth for Mercedes-Benz.

Media Insights 5: Medium

BMW Leads in Online and Newspaper Coverage

BMW has higher online and newspaper coverage compared with Mercedes-Benz. BMW achieved 65.6% for online and 23.6% for newspapers while Mercedes-Benz achieved 61.6% and 21.9% respectively.

Mercedes-Benz Leads the Magazine Coverage

Mercedes-Benz has higher coverage in Magazine at 16.5%, comparing to BMW’s 10.8%.

Takeaway for Media Type Comparison

  • In an online medium, both companies have almost identical results. At about 58% was catered for English content.
  • Both companies do not focus on placing their content on Malay magazine publications with a poor 6% appearance.
  • Chinese content in Chinese magazine publications for both companies was above 30%. Whereas the other Chinese medium such as newspapers and online was found to be between 14% to 16%, save for Mercedes-Benz’s Chinese newspaper which is slightly above 26%.

Media Insights 6: Top 3 Online

Similar Top 3 Online Channels

Both companies focused on AutoBuzz, Paul Tan and Drive Safe & Fast (DSF) as their media coverage top priority.

BMW’s volume from the top 3 online channels covered 26.7% of total volume from BMW’s entire online channels.

As for Mercedes-Benz’s volume from the top 3 online channels covered 27.3% of total volume from Mercedes-Benz’s entire online channels.

Mercedes-Benz with Higher Coverage in AutoBuzz

Mercedes-Benz achieved 20.8% of coverage compared to BMW’s 19.8% from the total volume of the top 3 online channels. The variance is only one percent.

BMW with Higher Coverage in Paul Tan

BMW achieved 18.3% of coverage compared to Mercedes-Benz’s 17.8% from the total volume of the top 3 online channels. The variance is a small 0.5%.

Mercedes-Benz with Higher Coverage in DSF

Mercedes-Benz achieved 12.2% of coverage compared to BMW’s 11.2% from the total volume of the top 3 online channels. The variance is only one percent.

Media Insights 7: Top 3 Newspaper

Similar Top 2 Newspaper Titles

The top 2 highest newspaper titles, which is The Star and The Edge, for both companies are identical but interchanged in rank.

BMW’s top 3 newspapers volume covered 36.3% of BMW’s total newspaper volume.

While for Mercedes-Benz’s top 3 newspapers volume covered 48.4% of Mercedes-Benz’s total newspaper volume.

Mercedes-Benz with Higher Coverage in The Edge

Mercedes-Benz achieved 19.1% of coverage compared to BMW’s 11.8% from the total volume of top 3 newspapers. The variance is 7.3%.

BMW with Higher Coverage in The Star

BMW achieved 21.8% of coverage compared to Mercedes-Benz’s 19.1% from the total volume of top 3 newspapers. The variance is 2.7%.

Dissimilar Third Newspaper Title

Mercedes-Benz’s 3rd highest newspaper is the New Straits Times with 17.3% from the total volume of the top 3 newspapers.

BMW’s 3rd highest newspaper is The Sun at 10.9% of the total volume of the top 3 newspapers.

Media Insights 8: Top 3 Magazine

Similar Top 2 Magazine Publications

The top 2 magazine publications, which is Top Gear and Prestige, for both companies are identical. BMW’s top 3 magazine publications covered 50% of the total volume from BMW magazine publications. While for Mercedes-Benz’s top 3 magazine publications covered 45.3% of total volume from Mercedes-Benz’s magazine publications.

Mercedes-Benz with Higher Coverage in Top Gear

Mercedes-Benz took the advantage by reaping more coverage in Top Gear. Top Gear is one of Malaysia’s top automotive magazines.

Mercedes-Benz was at 39.2% compared to BMW’s 31.1% from the total volume of top 3 magazine publications. The variance is 8.1%.

Mercedes-Benz with Higher Coverage in Prestige

Mercedes-Benz has twice the volume of BMW in Prestige. Mercedes-Benz achieved 10.8% of coverage compared to BMW’s 5.4% from the total volume of top 3 magazine publications. The variance is at 5.4%.

Dissimilar Third Magazine Publication

Mercedes-Benz’s 3rd highest magazine publication is August Man with 8.1% from the total volume of top 3 magazine publications. Meanwhile, Fireflyz is BMW’s 3rd highest magazine publication at 5.4%.

Conclusion from Media Insights Review

“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles”.

Sun Tzu’s Art of War

It is understandable that BMW Malaysia and Mercedes-Benz Malaysia clearly know one another too well. Both companies have capitalized on their own strength to gain maximum media exposure and value.

The gap between the two is negligible because of the equal consistency output they had garnered from executing their long term PR plan.

As said, it will be exciting to come year-end to know who has the media edge over the other and to claim the number #1 rank, both in car sales and the supremacy in media space.