Invisible Mercedes brings James Bond technology to life

Mercedes-Benz came up with an unusual way to get their upcoming hydrogen fuel cell vehicle, the F-Cell, noticed in their latest outdoor campaign. They overtly flaunted the hatchback on an 'F-Cell tour' across Germany for a week. Why was it different? It was invisible. 

A simple illusion
Taking the principal that to see through something you need to see what's behind it, they covered the driver's side of the car in mats of LEDs, and mounted a digital SLR camera on the opposite side of the vehicle.

LED matting
There is of course no Harry Potter-style 'Invisibility Cloak' and there is always some clever technology behind stunts like this. Mercedes achieved this 'hidden' effect by using optical camouflage expertise to cover the driver's side of the car with a veil of special LED matting. 


Making the F-Cell invisible
The LEDs were paired to a Canon 5D Mark II camera mounted on the opposite side of the car, which transmitted the video footage. As a result, they were able to simultaneously capture footage on one side of the car and display it on the other end, making the F-Cell, in effect, invisible. 

With 0.0 emissions
As the car moved, the German public were able to see their 'reflections' in the car in this real-time camouflage effect. The vehicle also flashed bright colours when in a standstill position on the road as well as occasionally displaying the words "Für Die Umwelt unsichtbar. F-Cell mit 0,0 Emissionen." ("Invisible to the environment. F-Cell with 0.0 emissions.") in the LED lights. 


With the hydrogen powered car's zero exhaust emissions, the campaign was created to emphasise the F-Cell's 'invisibility' to the environment. Most manufacturers are still testing the technology so consumers won't expect to get their hands on one any time soon. 


Earned over 450 million global media impressions


Chief Creative Officer: Goetz Ulmer

Creative Director, Michael Ohanian

Copywriter: Michael Ohanian

Creative Director: Jonas Keller

Art Director: Jonas Keller

Creative Director: Martin Strutz

Art Director: Andreas Wagner