Benedict Cumberbatch turns up as Sherlock to solve a mystery…in the Car Ad

Bewitched music, a mysterious voice, a new SUV …all these you can find in the new MG Motors commercial in China … the game is on!

While we are looking forward to a new episode of Sherlock that will return in December we can enjoy seeing him on the commercial. The MG GS SUV made its debut at Shanghai Auto Show where Benedict Cumberbatch had been chosen as the Ambassador because a TV series “Sherlock” is very popular in China.

Benedict Cumberbatch (via)

What I like in this ad campaign most is that you can see the actor in his usual role of Sherlock Holmes. In the ad you can see Cumberbatch do what he is good at: solving complex problems, investigating, using his unique abilities, such as observation and deduction, in order to meet a mystery girl. The new MG GS SUV helps him to reveal the mystery.

MG GS SUV (via)

The commercial starts in a London street where we can see the actor walking along in his blue trench coat. As he is passing a red phone box a sound of telephone ringing attracts his attention. Being curious, he answers it and a female voice on the line asks, “Want to play a game?”.

He takes a car key, looks around and sees an orange MG GS SUV parking alone in the street and comes up to it. As a good detective he notices small details, quickly reads a situation and comes up with a deduction.

So he starts his investigations. On the surface of the car he discovers mud, flower petals and drops of water and in his mind pictures start flashing. Driven by curiosity he gets into the MG GS SUV. Through the commercial you can value the vehicle: comfortable, stylish, dynamic, easy-to-drive off-road both in town and outside.

While driving around London a beatiful girl image appears before his eyes. Then we see Cumberbatch approaching the Tower Bridge and next moment his car in the air successfully landing on the other part of the Tower. Finally, he finds the girl standing by the Tower Bridge. Feeling quite content, he slightly opens a car window and tells her “I could do this all day.”


To my mind it’s a clever idea to promote the vehicle. To engage audience the company used the marketing strategy such as branded entertainment (or branded content) that is considered very effective.

Firstly, brand messages or values are integrated into the content of entertainment (for example, ads, TV shows, video games etc). Brands are more likely to get noticed by film fans instead of just showing the benefits of the product. Secondly, it is non-invasive way of advertising. The characters are not directly trying to sell anything. Thirdly, it allows to create a story that establishes a strong emotional dialogue with the audience. It is very persuasive. Finally, branded content can generate huge media exposure (reach a lot of people) and get the brand noticed. It can go viral.

Do you consider this campaign effective? 🙂

Read more about automotive ads


32 thoughts on “Benedict Cumberbatch turns up as Sherlock to solve a mystery…in the Car Ad

  1. I think the way they crafted the advertisement is really clever. The ad has a story and didn’t just sell a priduct, which is usually what ads do. The ad reminds me of some insurance ads here in the US, which have stories within the ads. I think these kinds of ads stick better with audience

  2. I love this kind of adds! They are very pleasant to watch. It’s like watching a movie trailer. You want to watch it over and over again. Featuring your product through a story is very clever. Well, they sure know what they do, hahaha. By the way, I think this add would be very successful in Europe as well, not only in China.

  3. Love this ad and the story it tells. I also really like this suv. I am not usually a fan of orange but this looks good on this one.

  4. I like when an ad comes with a story, and not a cheesy one like women recommending each other pregnancy tests. Involving Benedict Cumberbatch in a Chinese ad happening in London… I have to say, it’s intriguing. But, on the other hand, knowing London very well, the scenes don’t really make sense. He goes from Trafalgar Square straight to Tower Bridge and on the next corner he passed by Trafalgar Square again… if only the distance was so small and the traffic in London so empty, haha. 🙂

  5. I think it’s effective because it keeps the observer’s attention and portrays an element of “coolness” about the vehicle and the situation.

  6. That must be an effective campaign! Absolutely a fantastic idea 🙂 It’s great how the marketing people find these ways to promote a product. I’m kind of fed up with the idea that every product must have a story behind, but not fed up with a good story which is told well with the right characters. Thanks for sharing this – made me smile 🙂

  7. He’s a great actor, I had never seen him in Sherlock until my sister told me about it and said i would love it. Great advert, if only the London roads were like this, they are normally a snails pace.

  8. Definitely clever marketing, this is what marketing is all about in my opinion: appeal to the emotions and all senses of the target audience. There is a difference between spamming products and creating brand awareness.
    Apart from that, absolutely loved this ad and how it tells a story that keeps you engaged.

  9. I love the way they built the commercial with the clues. He looks dashing in the suit, which makes the car look even better. Nice metallic orange color!

  10. I’ve stopped watching Sherlock Holmes series since a long ago. But I still find this commercial a great idea. I’m sure this is an effective ad. Inform us if you see a lot of MG GS SUV on the streets so we’ll know if it was truly effective. Anyway, I’ve never heard of the MG GS brand before. I don’t think we have it in our country.

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