Driving the message

The challenge of turning an established brand into a freewheeling art project


In a time when companies around the world are redefining their goals, their audiences and their markets, some long-established companies are holding on to their founding visions. Whether an original sense of purpose or a recognisable motif that runs through their history, companies who want to retain their identity while moving in new directions find that reclaiming their historical vision statement makes sound business sense. One such statement is the motto of nineteenth-century industrialist Gottlieb Daimler, “das Beste oder nichts”: “the best or nothing”. The company that he founded in 1890, Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft, was the parent company of Mercedes-Benz, who last year celebrated its 125th anniversary. To mark that milestone, and to bring Gottlieb Daimler’s motto into the 21st century, it promoted “the best or nothing” as the company’s tag-line. But the way they chose to underline that message might not be quite what Herr Daimler had in mind.