The message is probably heartfelt, but the end product was one of sheer cheekiness. In paying tribute to Dieter Zetcher’s 13-year stewardship at Daimler AG as its CEO and Head of Mercedes-Benz cars, BMW seized the opportunity to induce a few chuckles in this cleverly crafted video.
It starts off innocuously enough as a familiar-looking be-moustached gentleman bids farewell to colleagues for the last time. Zetcher (or someone that looks a lot like him) is then chauffeured in an S-Class and dropped off at his residence. In the next instance, the garage door opens and Zetcher scoots off in a BMW i8 roadster. Free at last, supposedly.
The beauty of the clip is that it’s convincing up to the point when the i8 emerges, and then there’s disbelief…before you come to the realisation that BMW is really pulling your leg. As for the real Dieter Zetcher, 22nd May was his last day as CEO, he will now serve a two-year garden leave before standing for election as Chairman of Daimler’s supervisory board in 2021.
Over the 13 years at the helm, Zetcher presided over the decoupling of Daimler Chrysler, saw BMW eclipse Mercedes-Benz in sales and then led the change and brand revival which culminated in the position of leadership in the premium segment since 2016. Enjoy your temporary ‘retirement’, Dieter, you’ve earned it.