Mercedes-Benz launches ‘Tough Conversations’ with Henry Rollins

Mercedes-Benz has launched its ‘Tough Conversations’ campaign featuring American musician Henry Rollins as he travels across the country interviewing Australians to ask what toughness means to them.

Instead of creating a television commercial, Mercedes-Benz and creative agency The Royals, will launch the campaign as an hour long documentary, podcast series, radio partnership and through online platforms.

‘Tough Conversations’ aims to challenge the stereotypes of what it means to be tough to promote the car manufacturers new Mercedes-Benz X-Class.

Diane Tarr, CEO and managing director of Mercedes-Benz Vans Australia and New Zealand, said the campaign aims to celebrate a “modern kind of toughness”.

“To launch the X-Class in a mature ute market like Australia, we knew we needed to do something different to get Australians to understand that the X-Class stands for something more than the stereotypical toughness.

“We’ve all been really moved by the conversations Henry had on the road. He is a true embodiment of the evolution of tough and that makes him the perfect person to lead these conversations. He also has an ability like nobody else to get to the heart of a conversation, and to delve deep. We’re thrilled we can now share this with Australian audiences.”

Nick Cummins, creative partner at The Royals, added: “The X-Class ute is the first of its kind.It’s a new kind of tough. This got us thinking about Australians and tough. Many Australians are sick of the outdated stereotype of what tough means – hiding your emotions or working out at the gym till something bursts.

“To explore what tough really means to Australians today we turned to Henry Rollins – a man who has evolved from a head-butting, fist-fighting frontman to an intellectual touring the world with his Spoken Word concerts, challenging outdated beliefs and traditions.”


  • Client: Mercedes-Benz Vans Australia
  • CEO and Managing Director: Diane Tarr
  • Head of Product & Marketing: Sabine Wagner
  • Marketing Manager: Katherine Gracey
  • PR & Corporate Communications Manager: Blake Vincent
  • Agency: The Royals
  • Creative Partner: Nick Cummins
  • Managing Partner: Andrew Siwka
  • Group Account Director: Clara Tang
  • Head of Strategy: Michaela Futcher
  • Head of Customer Experience: Mikaël Perhirin
  • Planning Director: Matt Davies
  • Communications Director: Andrew Reeves
  • Senior Copywriter: Lewis Farrar
  • Senior Art Director: Adam Frazer
  • Digital Strategist: Chrissie Malloch
  • Senior Account Manager: Jade Mittermair
  • Senior Broadcast Producer: Fiona Gillies
  • PR Agency: Of Character
  • Managing Director: Kate Dinon
  • Head of Media Relations: Sarah Green
  • Production Company: FINCH
  • Executive Producer: Michael Hilliard and Corey Esse
  • Director: Christopher Nelius
  • DOP: Jordan Maddocks
  • Producer: Clare McGrath
  • Editor: Julie-Anne de Ruvo
  • Sound: Risk Sound
  • Sound Designer: Dylan Stephens
  • Original Music: Blessed

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