Mercedes dealers cancelled 2GB contract before Jones made Gillard comments

Car company Mercedes Benz’s Sydney dealers gave notice they were ending support of the Alan Jones breakfast show on 2GB nearly a fortnight before controversy erupted over his comments at a speech about Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s father dying of shame, Mumbrella can reveal.

The company won widespread praise on social media and in the mainstream press for what was seen as a principled stance after it was one of the first brands to announce that it was withdrawing support.

tele jonesIt gained even more coverage in the Sunday papers after revealing that it was repossessing Jones’ sponsored Mercedes. “We want the car back, the deal is cancelled, it is over,” Mercedes spokesman David McCarthy told yesterday’s Sunday Telegraph. yesterday, as social media pressure grew on advertisers, 2GB announced that it was suspending all advertising on the show.

However, Mumbrella has learned that the Mercedes Benz Sydney dealer group gave a month’s notice of ending their advertising arrangement, as per the terms of its contract with 2GB on September 19 – three days before Jones made his offensive comments at the Sydney University Liberal Club President’s Dinner and ten days before The Sunday Telegraph reported them.

McCarthy denied the claim that the decision had already been taken, telling Mumbrella: “We made the decision last Sunday.” On that day, Mercedes posted on its Facebook page a message saying: “Mercedes-Benz Australia/Pacific has instructed its dealers to cease any form of advertising on the Alan Jones show as our company does not condone such inappropriate comments.”

However, Mumbrella has seen communications between the Sydney Mercedes Benz dealership group, their media agency and 2GB which gave a month’s notice that it wanted to end their advertising deal.

Notice was given on September 19, effective from September 20. Both the Mercedes Benz dealer group and their agency McKenzie Partners communicated to 2GB that they were ending the deal. To allow for a 28 day notice period, they said they wanted their last ads to run on Thursday October 18.

Jones did not make his speech until Saturday September 22 and it was not reported by the Sunday Telegraph until September 30.

Mumbrella understands that the reason the deal ended was for business reasons. Individual dealerships had previously advertised separately on the show, but had experimented with a joint deal which would see an equal rotation of mentions for the different dealerships. But the arrangement had not worked.

When approached by Mumbrella, 2GB and parent company Harbour Radio declined to comment on the timing of the withdrawal.

Jones attacked McCarthy on his show this morning. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, he told listeners: “Now this bloke McCarthy has big noted himself on behalf of Mercedes-Benz and said: ‘Well we want the car back straight away and if we don’t we’ll get over there and we’ll repossess it and we’ll take it away from him.’ You big hero Mr McCarthy. How many phone calls did you make to me, you absolutely gutless wonder? None, none. Easy to shoot your mouth off and present an image which is completely untrue.”

After Mumbrella saw the communications, we approached McCarthy again. He said: “Our dealers do not represent every contract we have with Harbour Radio. The contract with the car is the one we ended. The one with the dealer group is not our contract.” He said that while dealers may have had their own arrangement, the loan of the car to the station was from Mercedes directly.

Asked whether Mercedes had sought a PR benefit by publicising the demand to return the car, McCarthy said: ‘Please record the sound of my laughing. Thanks for asking the question. We are a professional company. We made the decision on a matter of principle. Any other factors people are ascribing to this, it’s crap.”


  1. Jack B. Nimble
    8 Oct 12
    11:43 am

  2. Mumbrella to Mercedes: GOTCHA!!

  3. Marrickvillain
    8 Oct 12
    11:43 am

  4. Might those ‘business reasons’ have been ‘Alan Jones isn’t helping us to sell any cars’?

  5. Jen
    8 Oct 12
    11:52 am

  6. Who are these fools at Mercedes?
    Can you hear the sound of riotous applause coming from BMW dealerships…

  7. Malcolm
    8 Oct 12
    11:56 am

  8. Alan jones can dish out cruel attacks on others including the e Prime Ministers deceasd father but he sqeells it is bullying if over 100000 Australians say they think companies should stop supporting his disgusting comments by withdrawing their ads.Good on mercedes for ceasing their ads on his program.

  9. Groucho
    8 Oct 12
    12:04 pm

  10. But who would buy this horrible little goblins used car?

    Should so much rage trapped in that little body be allowed on the road?

    Does this car run on petrol or bile?

    Where has the 3 pointed star been?

    Can you get replacement seats?

    Perhaps the car could go in a museum with dinosaurs.

    Will he get a replacement Trabant?

    Perhaps a bicycle ?

  11. Bem
    8 Oct 12
    12:09 pm

  12. “We are a professional company” he says shortly before saying “crap”… Yes, very professional!

  13. doug
    8 Oct 12
    12:14 pm

  14. you would have to think that a spokesperson for an illustrious company such as Mercedes would choose his language and “statements on behalf of Mercedes” more carefully. It may be true that Mercedes terminated the car arrangement because Jones’ comments didn’t gell with mercedes corporate image… but the language Mr McCarthy uses seems to be to attract attention to himself rather to enunciate the position of the company.

  15. Billy Sneddon
    8 Oct 12
    12:15 pm

  16. Seriously, this is HUGE, and exactly what social media is good for… AJ is antisocial, mysoginistic and a national embarrassment.
    By tying it to the $consumer, there is a new paradigm at play – and it’s fascinating to see the boot on the other foot.
    Even better, AJ’s good mate Tony ‘Ladies Man’ Abbott is being swept along with the outgoing tide and may just be caught without his budgie smugglers on… Perhaps we’l see Margie out there defending AJ next??
    And I can’t wait for the T-shirt/POS/wobbler that says “THIS PRODUCT NOT ENDORSED BY ALAN JONES” … How about it Gerry? Or Banjo?? Nah, didn’t think so…
    At least I died for my cause… fuck yeah

  17. Atom
    8 Oct 12
    12:16 pm

  18. 2GB listeners buying Mercedies? What genius made that placement?

  19. Gauntlet Thrown
    8 Oct 12
    12:17 pm

  20. I challenge Tate and Singo and Rob to put up a list in public stating which Advertisers they have and specifically those who pay to be on Alan’s little show…

  21. Mr T
    8 Oct 12
    12:18 pm

  22. Jack B Nimble: It’s not really gotcha… The dealers, who operate independently of the MB head office have their own funds for marketing and advertising. They cancelled a different contract all together.

    I think MB have been above board in this whole debacle.

  23. bought me a merc
    8 Oct 12
    12:20 pm

  24. Don’t really care, at least they don’t sponsor him. That’s all i want to know.

  25. Post Script
    8 Oct 12
    12:21 pm

  26. Sorry readers, but you’ve gotta lurve this pearl from the Mouth himself (see above)

    “Easy to shoot your mouth off and present an image which is completely untrue.”

  27. Geepers
    8 Oct 12
    12:22 pm

  28. The story’s not that big, maybe in NSW but surely there must be more interesting News.

  29. terry salad
    8 Oct 12
    12:26 pm

  30. I’m surprised Mercedes advertised there in the first place. Are they trying to convince rednecks to trade in their UTE’s?

  31. LW
    8 Oct 12
    12:27 pm

  32. Is this Jones-washing?

  33. The Bully gets Bullied? Awwww...
    8 Oct 12
    12:28 pm

  34. Alan Jones is now a victim of bullying?? What about the victims he has bullied for the past 10 years… Karma is a bitch Alan.

  35. bandit
    8 Oct 12
    12:30 pm

  36. They advertised on the show in the first place. Why should the brand get brownie points for pulling their ads when they were there bankrolling him in the first place?!

    The car should be auctioned off and all money given to charity.

  37. stephenson
    8 Oct 12
    12:34 pm

  38. Wouldn’t surprise me at all if Mercedes cancelled their contract prior to Alan’s comments which were not ON AIR comments – McCarthy doesn’t appear to be professional at all – laughing, using ? language – is he taking a page out of the labour women’s books?

    I didn’t replace my Benz two weeks ago with another Mercedes – wouldn’t even sit in one now – disgusting attitude –

    I will most certainly continue to support Alan Jones – as for the distasteful Attorney general’s comments and other labour folks – they are an absolute disgrace to the good name our Country

  39. Rachel
    8 Oct 12
    12:35 pm

  40. Ugly is trying to capitalise on ugly behaviour. Mr Mercedes let Mr Jones keep the car. You deserve each other.

  41. Meanwhile...
    8 Oct 12
    12:42 pm

  42. Meanwhile… over on the opposition’s blog they’re promoting some old git who thinks he was and is a creative genius… I’d say check it out but don’t bother; suffice to say (for those with long memories) that Doorley’s still got his hand on it

    Tim, you wouldn’t understand this, but please publish anyway – ta – on behalf of the Other Bullied People

  43. Peter A
    8 Oct 12
    12:51 pm

  44. If you cannot believe so called reputable brands like Mercedes Benz, then who can you believe anymore.

  45. confused
    8 Oct 12
    1:21 pm

  46. As a new comer to your country, I’m a little confused.
    Alan Jones Verbally Bullied the PM, so everyone Bullies him, and his Advertisers, and their Customers and that is acceptable?
    Also to clarify, if I ask people to boycott businesses (possibly sacking staff) this is legal and good?
    I might have picked wrong country to start business.

  47. Encyclic!
    8 Oct 12
    1:47 pm

  48. @Confused, the alternative spin is that interest groups utilised market forces and mechanisms available to them as human beings to remove financial incentive for companies to advertise with AJ.

    The Sydney AFL team have a fantastic rule, they don’t allow ‘dickheads’ on their team.

    What great role models for the rest of us.

  49. TheDeb
    8 Oct 12
    1:52 pm

  50. Hi Confused,
    You’ve miss understood why there is such an uproar. Alan Jones and other social commentators have been vocalising negative opinions about the PM for years, about her and the governemts policies which is reasonably fair as these are important issues to address, and need to be discussed (even if I don’t approve of the way these shock jocks go about it).

    But in this country there is mostly an unspoken rule that family members especially parents and children of public figures and celebrities are left alone. Especially in times of private grief and anguish. It is general human common curtsy. Why would any Australian want someone who can’t understand this as a public figure contaminating the airwaves with this sort of opinion.

    On a side note, has anyone discovered how much AJ was actually paid for his appearance at the “private function”

  51. Another Doug
    8 Oct 12
    2:03 pm

  52. Mercedes are bling and rednecks love bling. In fact 2GB is a fantastic demographic for Mercedes; marketing to (partly) the pretentious materialistic who are happy to take out a car loan.

  53. Mac
    8 Oct 12
    2:16 pm

  54. @confused, re: “Also to clarify, if I ask people to boycott businesses (possibly sacking staff) this is legal and good?”

    Within limits – yes. We all have preferences.

    Some people don’t like the idea of cats being killed for fur, so choose to boycott companies that do that, and also ask their friends to boycott it as well. That’s perfectly reasonable … even ‘good’ (if your idea of ‘good’ is not skinning cats).

    (Moderated by Mumbrella for legal reasons)

    In commerce, if people choose to boycott product ‘A’ they generally spend their money on product ‘B’ instead .. so on average there is no loss of employment. Even if they keep it in the bank, the bank loans it out to someone else to buy a product so there is still no as much ‘sacking staff’ as you’d think.

    Would it be ‘good’ if Hugo Boss disbanded & sacked their staff … so people bought other luxury brands instead? The shakeup would make room for another entrant in that market, so some staff would do their own startups, some would be employed by the other luxury brands, etc.

    The idea that ‘we should ignore behaviour that we find unacceptable soley because otherwise they might lose sales’ is simply wrong.

    Every time we try improve our own sales we know that sales will be diverted from another product. Perhaps a competitors product, perhaps from another source. But it *always* diverts something. It isn’t something to be frightened off.

    Feel free to choose not to buy my products or not to hire me if you feel that my attitude is wrong. That kind of decision making isn’t something to be afraid of – it is something is a natural part of commerce.

    I hope this reduces your confusion – have a great week !


  55. Vanderwert
    8 Oct 12
    2:32 pm

  56. Purchased 2 Mercs in the last 10 years,thinking of upgrading at the end of this year… Not any more sorry MB

  57. GetReal
    8 Oct 12
    2:34 pm

  58. @ 11. Mr T

    Spot on! Completely different contracts. The contract cancelled prior is that of a Sydney dealership who organised the car for Jones….. the same car he apparently has no knowledge of ever having been negotiated for him??

    Corporate advertising is a different deal all together, as is that of the combined Dealer funds.

  59. Anonymous
    8 Oct 12
    2:42 pm

  60. Nice bit of spin for Jones here. But the telling item was Chaser’s “Mercedes didn’t even pull the plug on the Nazis….”
    The Germans would have had the tanks out after that little link.
    As for the bullying BS above, I would note two points.
    #1: Jones has often “bullied” companies and has even admitted that competitors have paid him to do so. The clear intent was to have the effect of forcing them do change something.
    #2: If a huge number of people are willing to spend time to complain to businesses about their commercial practices (in this case advertising) then is that “bullying”? Or is that perhaps “normal”?
    And all the noise above reflects a sad misunderstanding of what popular opinion is like when it’s activated.
    Most people aware that someone, anyone, had publicly “joked” that a person’s dad had died of shame for his/her alleged actions would be upset. If that person had died recently, most people would be mortified. Jones et al need to man up here.

  61. Shane Drew
    8 Oct 12
    3:20 pm

  62. AJ made a speech on his own time, not while on the radio, not addressing it to 2GB listeners and not representing 2GB at the time. Mercedes Benz are punishing 2GB, why? Perhaps McCarthy needs to rethink his carefully rehearsed reply. I am a Mercedes Benz owner. Perhaps they should keep their nose out of political debate and keep to what they know best.

    They have just given cyber bullying via social media a leg up. 108,000 mostly uni students and young people who no doubt don’t listen to him. Mercedes joining the brain dead in threatening sponsors with boycotts is not something I would like to be aligned to. Perhaps I should trade my two vehicles in on a manufacturer who sticks to making vehicles rather than trying to score cheap political points by persecuting an employer for an employees indiscretion, for which he has unreservedly apologized.

  63. Johnson
    8 Oct 12
    4:42 pm

  64. Mercedes knows all about morals…or at least only recently developed morality, apologising as it has for those ‘unfair work practices’ back in the days of the third reich …..but McCarthy seems a lot more lacking in judgement.

    Caught up in the lefty social media twittering, no doubt his own avowed political sensibilities (“a bit left of centre”) coloured his internal advice to Mercedes management that they had a “real issue” and “had to do something” to “demonstrate integrity”

    Instead I guess his career won’t be going far now.

  65. Shamma
    8 Oct 12
    7:04 pm

  66. The fact they sponsored the show AND gave him a 250k car for free in the first place is the real oddity here … obviously the women ruining the joint, chaff bag, lies about global warming were okay for Mercedes …

  67. Ann
    8 Oct 12
    10:43 pm

  68. One Commentator on another station said that 2GB’s decision to have no ads will help Alan Jones ratings cause of the way radio ratings are calculated. Is this true?

    If so, the next ratings will be interesting

  69. Steve
    9 Oct 12
    1:32 pm

  70. @Ann – all of this talk and continued coverage of the Jones saga will help him in the ratings next survey and most likely for a few surveys to come. Radio ratings are calculated on perceived listening, so while everyone keeps talk about him, the ratings will likely keep rising.

    Then wait until the station reopens advertising in Jones’ show. There’s another story angle that will get coverage over a number of days…

  71. Big Mal
    9 Oct 12
    2:55 pm

  72. Ratings are based on time spent listening. No ads and people may listen longer. Jones ratings go up? Advertisers want/need to be there, as audience has grown, rates go up.

  73. stephenson
    9 Oct 12
    3:33 pm

  74. Alan will survive – he doesn’t hide behind internet faceless names – he is smart, intelligent, educated. Has many many friends and colleagues who admire and support him.

    and I am a 5th generation Melbournian!!! (Australian) indeed!!! can’t catch his radio show, but never miss any of his interviews – brilliant man – JUST wish our Government had one ilk of his integrity and brilliant mind.

  75. Mr T
    9 Oct 12
    5:21 pm

  76. LOL Stephenson. Are you Mr Jones himself?!

  77. stephenson
    9 Oct 12
    6:01 pm

  78. Dear Mr. T.

    How I wish I was – no Mr. T. …. just a 67 year old 5th generation Australian, 2 children, 2 grandchildren who is worried sick about current state of affairs bouncing around – never seen it so bad since my first vote in 1966 – very sad and disappointed all round – very sad, worried indeed –

  79. Groucho
    9 Oct 12
    8:11 pm

  80. @stephenson reading your post makes me think you may have made some poor choices. Your admiration of the horrible wee goblin rather confirms it.

  81. Richard Moss
    10 Oct 12
    11:14 am

  82. Keeping up with the Jones’ ? Our beloved Opinions ratings are five to three in favour of Jones at this moment, if largely negative messages can be called “In favour.”

    But look folks, Merc’ term was up prior to his latest foot in mouth disease attack, and the foul comment about Julia’s Dad was after all a comment about the dead, who have always enjoyed immunity where libel and or slander are concerned, well, you can’t enjoy anything if your dead, but they have always been a safe bet where open slather is concerned, in either word or print.

    So, this is just another case of the old fart being unable to moderate his tone and behave like a half decent human being.

    Wouldn’t want him in my club (if I had one) he belongs with the uncouth types; sort of chap who would crack walnuts in the door hinges, wear ready made bow ties and spit pomegranate seeds at table. Looks slightly grubby to me too, probably does the old wet flannel under the arms dodge, and sprays a lot of old spice on his nether regions in lieu of a bath.