Mercedes-Benz Vans looks to tap Australia's startup community with hackathon

Commercial vehicles maker will hold its first hacking day allowing entrepreneurs and creative thinker the chance to customise its Vito van

Mercedes-Benz Vans is looking to grow its reach into Australia’s thriving startup and SMB sectors with a new activation giving entrepreneurs the opportunity to 'pimp' its Vito van.

The car manufacturer’s new initiative, entitled Hack My Van, allows creative and entrepreneurial small business owners and thinkers the opportunity to reimagine the inside of the Vito vehicle.

Those interested in participating must submit their ideas by 27 July. Six teams will then be chosen to participate in a dedicated hacking day on 6 August in Melbourne, where their efforts will be judged by a list of innovative industry judges including award-winning chef and restauranteur, Shane Delia; Unlocked and Tribe advisor and co-founder of Smiling Mind, Jane Martino, and Mercedes-Benz Vans MD for A/NZ, Diane Tarr.

On the day, teams will be required to complete a series of exercises, working alongside a team from Mercedes-Benz Vans, product experts and industrial designers. The winner will secure their own Vito.

The program was created by recently appointed creative agency, The Royals, and is designed to help expand brand awareness of the commercial van in SMB and startup circles, Mercedes-Benz marketing manager, Katherine Gracey, told CMO.

While the company’s vans are popular with traditional commercial sector businesses such as trades and couriers, who see the vehicles “as workhorses”, the brand is also keen to highlight the innovative technology under the hood as well as its versatility, she said.

“It’s about what we can do differently to make a connection into a group of people that are starting up businesses and showcase our product,” Gracey said, adding that the brand wants to be seen as a business partner to Australian organisations.

“You can see the great ideas people small businesses and startups across Australia are coming up with. We’re looking at how we make that connection and associate our vans with this dynamic by bringing in teams to showcase what they are capable of doing using our vans as a canvas to show their potential as creatives and entrepreneurs.”

Mercedes-Benz Vans has also partnered with technology vendor, HP, to use its 3D solution to help with modelling and content development to build the portal on the day.

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia, or check us out on Google+: google.com/+CmoAu

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