Mercedes-Benz of North America has retained International Creative Management to develop film, television and new media projects for the auto manufacturer. In addition to acting as a traditional marketing consultant, ICM will seek out prestigious projects such as documentaries and book projects for the corporation to underwrite.

“We are in the process of creating a very distinct image for Mercedes-Benz in the U.S. market, together with our advertising agency, Lowe & Partners/SMS,” said Andrew Goldberg, general manager of integrated communications for Mercedes-Benz of North America. “Our relationship with ICM will help us to augment these efforts with innovative, high-profile initiatives in the entertainment industry.” Unlike the alliance Creative Artists Agency forged in July 1993 with the Coca-Cola Corp., the Mercedes deal does not put ICM in the advertising business.

Instead of seeking out ICM’s directors and actors as a way to enliven spots for coupes and sedans, Mercedes-Benz is hoping the agency can find programs and interactive applications as a means to expose the luxury car company to a wider and younger demographic.

And the deal is different from Procter & Gamble’s production partnership with Paramount, as Mercedes-Benz is not planning to co-finance a slew of network TV series and firstrun hours in exchange for advertising time.

ICM is expected to play a pivotal role in setting up online services and worldwide web sites for Mercedes-Benz.

And the answer to the question that most agents were asking last week about the deal is no, ICM topper Jeff Berg did not get a new 500SL in the deal.

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