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October 23rd, 2007

The Product As Cult

So as you probably know by now (because I’ve been bending everyone’s ear about it ever since October 12), I bought a brand new Mercedes-Benz.  But no…you don’t just buy a car when you buy a Mercedes…you buy into a…culture.  Sort of like another product line I’ve bought into recently…

So I drove my new car to Strudsburg PA, last weekend, to visit an old grade school friend.  In the process my car turned over its first thousand miles and I was obliged to bring it into the dealership for its complementary 1k checkup.  I did that this morning, and swear to god I’ve never been treated nicer by a car dealership in my life.  The waiting room was a nicely furnished lounge with free pastries and soft drinks, a widescreen HDTV to watch, and an Enterprise rental car office right in the lounge, in case the service department told you they’d have to keep the car for a while (I expect that if the car was still in warranty Mercedes would just give you a loaner car…they did me, no questions asked, when I traded my Accord in, but my new Mercedes wasn’t ready for delivery just yet…).  There was also a nice little Mercedes boutique shop, where you could shop Mercedes-Benz paraphernalia to your heart’s content while waiting for your car. There were the usual assortment of Mercedes-Benz approved car care products.  Polo shirts, jackets, caps, wallets, wrist watches, key fobs, umbrellas, posters…you name it. 

I bought a sharp looking little spun aluminum travel mug to go with the car.  It had the Mercedes three pointed star logo.  It was a lovely shape that seemed to go well with the look of the car I’d just bought.  I saw it and I had to have it.  I expect I’ll be experiencing that feeling a lot in the coming months, regarding Mercedes merchandise.

The guy behind the parts counter window handed my new Mercedes-Benz travel mug to me in a little box, that reminded me of something else I’d purchased not that long ago…


Oh yes…that.  The cult of Apple.  The cult of Mercedes-Benz.  Perhaps this was how initiates to the cults of the old gods once felt.  But was there merchandise they could buy…?



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