SHOOTING

THE IMPOSSIBLE

SHOOTING
THE
IMPOSSIBLE

The Asus Zenbook Story

SHE’S ALL
OF US

SHE’S
ALL
OF US

The alicia keys X Mercedes-Benz Story

War live
on TikTok

War live
on TikTok

A P!NG story about the battle on Social Media

MY FATHERS
DREAM

MY
FATHERS
DREAM

The BART HICKEY x Mercedes-AMG Story
“LOOPING GROUP is a real success story in the fast-changing world of media and brands and everywhere they meet. With it, the former “SZ Magazin” and “Stern” Editor-in-Chief Dominik Wichmann has together with his co-founders created a prototype for tomorrow's publishing house.”
Stefan Winterbauer, Editor-in-chief Meedia

DRIVEN BY IDEAS

DRIVEN BY
IDEAS

THE WILL.I.AM. x Mercedes-AMG STORY

SHARE THE
EMOTIONS

SHARE THE
EMOTIONS

THE VIRGIL ABLOH x Tina Turner x Telekom Electronic Beats STORY
SOUND
3 Minute read

“This is the most impressive and outstanding campaign for ASUS Zenbook in 10 years!”

In a nutshell: For the tech giant Asus, we created a global campaign with a storytelling approach, to launch their new range of Zenbooks.

An incredible artist with a unique craft.

The Intro: Asus is a multinational computer and phone hardware electronics company, headquartered in Taipei, Taiwan. Since 2013, their brand claim has been ‘In Search of Incredible’.

A journey to the inner incredible.

The Plot: In 2021 Asus were looking for a global campaign idea to relaunch their new range of Zenbooks. They wanted a storytelling approach that spoke to and about the customer, rather than only focusing on the product features and the brand.

The Twist: Looping Group created a campaign idea built around the concept: „Incredible comes from within“. A line designed to tell two stories at once, one about the creativity that lives within us all, the other about the incredible Zenbook features that enable this creativity.

Incredible comes
from within.

The Result: In May 2022 an epic film launched the campaign, along with four 30 second commercials, a behind the scenes film and multiformat print and outdoor material. The launch caught the attention of 1.3M Twitter viewers and was incorporated into a spectacular light show on the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, which was viewed by a YouTube audience of over 1M people.

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„My whole motivation is to make the viewer ask questions. I think this is the whole purpose of art.“

Reuben Wu, artist and photographer

Advertising campaign execution.

We create over 50 campaign assets, including channel specific videos, a behind the scenes documentary and the out of home campaign key visuals.

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3 Minute read

A community that is not only connected, but truly connecting.

In a nutshell: With stories like Alicia’s, we helped She’s Mercedes to evolve from a popular magazine into a thriving ecosystem. She’s Mercedes is now published in 25 markets in 27 languages and has over 42m account followers across all channels.

Portrait picture of Alicia Keys in tropical surrounding.

Alicia Keys © Kennedi Carter, Mercedes-Benz AG, Looping Group

Picture of Alicia Keys photographing herself in a Mercedes-Benz.

The Intro: Mercedes-Benz is one of the world’s most popular luxury car brands. It has sought to connect and empower women through a programme of high-quality, independent editorial content. Their flagship channel for communicating with women has been She’s Mercedes magazine.

“Alicia puts heavy emphasis on her values lying in friendship, family and solace. So, I really wanted to capture land, terrain and solitude.”

Kennedi Carter, photographer

Shot outside of a Mercedes-Benz on the street.

© Kennedi Carter, Mercedes-Benz AG, Looping Group

The Plot: Capturing and sustaining attention in a branded environment requires constant reinvention, both in terms of the quality of content and the channels selected to share the content and drive engagement. To keep She’s Mercedes relevant to modern women, Mercedes-Benz needed to evolve She’s Mercedes into a 360-degree ecosystem.

Alicia & Kennedi: A roadtrip to their inner landscape.

Red and pink flowers.
Side picture of a Mercedes-Benz black car.
Picture of trees in the desert.
Picture of Alicia Keys in the desert next to Mercedes-Benz.
Close-up picture of a tree in the desert.

© Kennedi Carter, Mercedes-Benz AG, Looping Group

“We get to choose who we want to be and what life we live. We don't have to accept what's always been. We can write, create, dream, the future.”

Alicia Keys, She’s Mercedes guest Editor-in-Chief

Picture of Alicia Keys walking through the desert.
Abstract picture of a Mercedes-Benz.

‘Top Coat’ © Johanna Jaskowska & Manuel Bueno, Mercedes-Benz AG, Looping Group

The Twist: We worked with Mercedes-Benz to ensure that She's Mercedes content embraced three core themes at its heart: inspiration, diversity, and female empowerment. We invited 15-time Grammy Award-winning singer, songwriter, musician, producer and accomplished actress Alicia Keys to be the guest Editor-in-Chief. We connected her to Kennedi Carter, the youngest-ever cover photographer for British Vogue, to capture a unique photographic essay on a road trip through Joshua Tree Park in Southern California. 

Pages of She's Magazine by Mercedes-Benz.

Crypto artists Serwah Attafua, Krista Kim and Johanna Jaskowska

A platform for women who choose to lead.

Abstract picture of a Mercedes-Benz.

‘Continuum’ © Krista Kim, Mercedes-Benz AG, Looping Group 

The Result: She's Mercedes now lives online and offline. It has evolved from a popular magazine into a thriving ecosystem. The community continues to grow through festivals, masterclasses, readings and debates. It is now published in 25 markets in 27 languages and has over 42m account followers across all channels. Alicia proudly shared her story with her 22m Instagram followers. She's Mercedes inspired over 62m people. 

Abstract design of Mercedes-Benz case She's Magazine.

‘Top Coat’ © Johanna Jaskowska & Manuel Bueno, Mercedes-Benz AG, Looping Group 

Alicia Keys She's Magazine Mercedes-Benz.

‘Antheia 2021’ © Serwah Attafuah, Mercedes-Benz AG, Looping Group 

8 MINUTE READ

In the battle for the global attention and sympathy, Ukraine has won one battle after another, proving that the editorial society cannot be silenced.

No war is fought only with weapons. The war against Ukraine also has several secondary battlegrounds. Particularly remarkable for the editorial society are the battles on different social media fronts: For the support of other states and politicians, the favour of the economy, the sovereignty over the flow of information and ultimately the question of who can keep the morale of its soldiers and citizens high.

On all these fronts, Putin has decisively lost influence in recent days. Why? Three reasons that speak for a strengthened editorial society.

Tanks Live on TikTok: The Role of Ukrainian citizens.

"You should put sunflower seeds in your pockets so that they will grow on Ukrainian soil after you die." – This sentence will go down in the history of this war. It was said by a previously unknown Ukrainian woman who confronted Russian soldiers – but the whole world could hear it, via a viral video on social media.

Thousands of Ukrainians have already volunteered for service on the fronts, the queues in front of the recruitment offices are proverbial blockbusters. But most Ukrainian citizens are armed with nothing but their smartphones – a simple tool that is proving impressively effective.

 

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In the first hours of the invasion, the movement of Russian tanks can already be followed live on Google Maps, Ukrainians post footage of battles on TikTok and Reddit – while they are happening! – and document on Twitter which Russian helicopters have crashed and how one can defend oneself against tanks with cardboard boxes.

Ukrainians and supporters around the world share information on all channels about relief supplies and entry regulations for refugees, escape routes, translation assistance and call for donations. IT experts, programmers and copywriters are organizing themselves as a volunteer cyber army via Telegram. And a 19-year-old from Florida tweets live where the Russian oligarchs' planes are flying to.

More important than the content of some messages, however, is the fact that the speed at which posts travel around the world has increased dramatically. This increase in speed signifies nothing less than a turning point in history.

"When I was a reporter stationed in Iraq for the US Army in 2016, same-day information sharing was considered fast by Department of Defence standards," writes journalist Daniel Johnson. "What is happening in Ukraine is only possible on this scale if citizens and soldiers across the country have easy access to mobile phones, the internet and therefore social media apps. A large-scale modern war is being broadcast live to the world minute by minute, battle by battle, death by death."

Not only the speed, but also the variety of sources is new. While in the Arab Spring – the first live broadcast revolution – most of the information on the web spread fragmentarily and comparatively slowly via large social networks and established media, Ukrainians are resorting to all real-time messengers, small and large networks as well as other info apps. Never before has the global editorial society been able to get such a comprehensive picture of a war within such a short period of time.

A Muzzle for the Propaganda Machine: The Role of Social Media Platforms

No wonder, then, that Russia immediately tried to control the major social platforms – with moderate success. One by one, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and others announced in the past few days that they would by no means give up fact-checking Russian posts. On the contrary, they are all tightening their controls.

  • Twitter flags tweets with links to Russian state media and reduces the visibility of posts.
  • Facebook, Instagram and TikTok restrict access to the state channels Russia Today and Sputnik.
  • YouTube blocks state-sponsored advertising for Russian channels.
  • Google and Meta currently exclude Russian state media from selling ads on their platforms.  
  • All platforms are strengthening their controls against fake news.

Of course, the Russian government did not hesitate for long and retaliated by banning the platforms in Russia.

But this development is astonishing when one considers the seemingly endless debates of recent years: From Brexit to the US elections, Russia's propaganda empire seemed to be pulling the strings in the background yet unabashedly, while the major social media platforms talked down their responsibility. But the war of aggression against Ukraine is now forcing the platforms to take a clear stand. And this is having an effect: even a rich, influential and experienced cyberwar power like the government of Russia cannot omnipotently switch lies for truth.

Fake news are checked in real time by the global community, and sometimes even made absurd by Ukrainian citizens with smartphones. For example, the Russian military's claim not to attack civilian targets – while everyone on social media can see Russian bombs hitting the "Freedom Square" of Kharkiv, Ukraine's second biggest city.

Screenshot of a Twitter post.Screenshot of a Twitter post.
Screenshot: Twitter Public Policy (@Policy)

The most important platform – because it is the most widely used in Russia and Ukraine – is still holding back: Telegram, a company founded by the Russian brothers Durov. Telegram has threatened to close down war-related channels because fake news is spreading rapidly and unchecked. So far, however, they only threatened.

Many Ukrainians and Russians have therefore already switched to alternatives: Cloudflare recorded a massive increase in the use of Signal since shortly after midnight on 24 February – at the same time as the Russian invasion began. Signal is considered the most secure private messaging app by cyber security experts.

Whether Telegram will follow suit with stricter controls will become clear in the coming days. But the other big platforms seem to have realised that they cannot claim a monopoly on global communication and networking without taking responsibility for it at the same time.

As German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said in her speech to the UN General Assembly: "In a situation where war and peace are at stake, you have to decide whether you are on the side of the aggressor or on the side of families, of children hiding in underground shafts from bomb and missile attacks." The major social media platforms have now chosen sides.

From Comedian to Hero: The Role of the Ukrainian Government

The Russian government spread rumours at the beginning of the attack that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had fled – and was immediately refuted by his video series directly from Kiev.

Vladimir Putin claimed that the Ukrainian government was led by "a gang of drug addicts and neo-Nazis" – on social networks everyone could make up their own minds.

One thing is certain: The Ukrainian government uses social media with a speed and virtuosity that makes Putin's pompous propaganda spectacle with its bizarrely large panels and rehearsed pseudo-debates appear old-fashioned.

Zelensky in particular has risen in record time from politically inexperienced comedian to war hero in social media. His experience and charisma as an actor and director clearly work to his advantage: he gave his first speech in a suit, but since then he has swapped his tie for a green military shirt. He shoots his videos in Ukrainian, Russian and English, with clear announcements in Twitter-suitable precision. Every day he gains hundreds of thousands of followers, and 4.40 million people now follow him on Twitter.

When the US offered him the chance to leave the country with their help, Zelensky replied: "I need ammunition, not a ride." It was this sentence that cemented his hero status for all Ukrainians.

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Video: Twitter Account of Ukraine's President Selenskyji (ZelenskyyUa)

But there is one thing in particular that is decisive: without truthfulness, Zelensky's production would be nothing. Because Zelensky actually stayed in Kiev and did not flee, because he actually stands by his soldiers and volunteer fighters, because Russia is actually the aggressor and Ukraine has to defend itself – only because Zelensky also does what he says and says what he does, his communication on social media works. He has bet on the two most important social media currencies and won: Authenticity and credibility. 

The Editorial Society Writes History

"History is written by the winners" is a well-known saying. And in times of information monopolies it certainly had its justification. In the editorial society, however, news or information monopolies no longer exist. Therefore, this sentence can no longer apply. It belongs to the past.
 
Never before have so many people had such immediate access to so much information, sources and channels. Never before has a war been documented so extensively. Even his own population cannot be completely cut off from the stream of news by Putin, as proven by the courageous anti-war demonstrators in Moscow who take to the streets despite threats of imprisonment and violence.

Whoever wins this war – the whole world can watch it live. Because the editorial society cannot be switched off. It is always-on.

About the author

Bernadette Mittermeier, Editor-in-Chief Ping LOOPING GROUP.

Bernadette Mittermeier is editor-in-chief of the newsletter P!NG. As Senior Editor at LOOPING GROUP, she is also responsible for the Science & Tech cluster as well as for the conception and implementation of books, podcast, live and serial formats. Previously, she worked as a freelance journalist, primarily for ZEIT Online and the Süddeutsche Zeitung.

3 Minute read

“Today is definitely a way to say thank you to my father. If there’s anyone who’s that deserving, it’s him.”

Brendan Hickey

In a nutshell: For Mercedes-AMG we crafted the powerful and moving story of Bart Hickey, a blind mechanic. With more than 7 million views, ‘My Father’s Dream’ became the most viewed film that Mercedes-AMG have ever published on their YouTube channels.

Portrait of Bart Hickey, a blind mechanic, hugging someone. Mercedes-AMG crafted story.

© New Step Media, Mercedes-Benz AG, Looping Group

The Intro: Mercedes-Benz is one of the world’s most iconic luxury car brands and its AMG subsidiary is synonymous with powerful, high-performance vehicles.

A father. A son. And a car.

A father, a son and a car. Two hands touching a Mercedes-AMG motorA father, a son and a car. Two hands touching a Mercedes-AMG motor

© New Step Media, Mercedes-Benz AG, Looping Group

The Plot: Although established customers and ‘petrolhead’ fans of Mercedes-Benz respond to the raw power of its vehicles, especially those with the AMG marque, the company wanted to add a deeper, more emotional resonance to the brand through storytelling.

This was never 
a story about 
the AMG GT R.

Hands reading braille. Bart Hickey's hands reading braille
A father a son and traces of tyres in the sand. Mercedes-AMG story, Bart Hickey.
Portrait of Bart Hickey, a blind mechanic, smiling. Mercedes-AMG crafted story
Hand of Bart Hickey, a blind mechanic, touching a Mercedes-AMG car.

This was a story about Bart Hickey. And his imagination.

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The Twist: Brendan Hickey wrote to Mercedes-Benz asking if they could make his father’s lifelong dream ‘to drive a Mercedes’ come true. We set about crafting the powerful and moving story of how Bart, who is blind, could get behind the wheel of an AMG GT R. We added the science of data to every step of the creation of the story, ensuring that edits of the film were optimised for each relevant channel.

“I have imagined driving – to take 
a car out on the Salt Flats in Utah 
and just drive.”

Bart Hickey

Mercedes-AMG car driving in the desert. Sand clouds in desert.Mercedes-AMG car driving in the desert. Sand clouds in desert.

© Jeremy Hill, Mercedes-Benz AG, Looping Group

Mercedes’ most loved film ever.

A father, a son and a car. Bart Hickey together with his son Brendan Hickey next to Mercedes-AMG.A father, a son and a car. Bart Hickey together with his son Brendan Hickey next to Mercedes-AMG.
Picture of Bart Hickey, a blind mechanic, next to a Mercedes-AMG car in the desertPicture of Bart Hickey, a blind mechanic, next to a Mercedes-AMG car in the desert

The Result: My Father’s Dream was the most viewed and liked film that Mercedes-Benz/AMG have ever published on their YouTube channels. It attracted more than seven million views and 300,000 likes. The film has generated more comments than any other film in Mercedes’ YouTube history, 99% of them were positive. It generated significant earned media coverage, including a prime-time TV slot as the number one ‘best moment’ on RTL’s The Ultimate Chart Show. The media value of this spot alone was worth €1m. 

Are you up for the ride?

Bart Hickey, a blind mechanic, driving in a Mercedes-AMG car in the desertBart Hickey, a blind mechanic, driving in a Mercedes-AMG car in the desert

© New Step Media, Mercedes-Benz AG, Looping Group

 

In an interview with MEEDIA, our co-founder and CPO Dominik Wichmann talks about the early days and the development of our company. Starting with only a few employees and the production of Mercedes-Benz customer magazines, he shares how we have developed into an agency that not only handles editorial work, but also develops PR and Social Media strategies and creates international campaigns.

3 Minute Read

“I like trying things out, flippin' stuff. This is like me hip hoppin' a car.”

Will. I.AM.

In a nutshell: With AMG Uncovered, we initiated a new storytelling approach: pairing high-performance cars with absorbing personalities, focusing on how AMG inspires them. Over 4.1m people have viewed the AMG Uncovered Series.

A photo of Will.I.Am sitting in his Mercedes-AMG car.A photo of Will.I.Am sitting in his Mercedes-AMG car.

Will. I.AM. © Sterling Hampton

The Intro: Mercedes-AMG is the high-performance subsidiary of Mercedes-Benz AG, they hire independent engineers and manufacturers to customize Mercedes-Benz AMG vehicles. They typically have higher performance levels, better handling, better stability and more extensive use of carbon fibre than their regular Mercedes-Benz counterparts.

True luxury is

more than a

product.

It's personal.

A photo of the hands of Will.I.Am standing next to his Mercedes-AMG.
A photo of Will.I.Am standing next to his Mercedes-AMG.A photo of Will.I.Am standing next to his Mercedes-AMG.

Four faces. Four dreams. And the AMG.

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AMG Uncovered. Driven by Dreams Feat. Will. I.AM © Looping Group

The Plot: They launched the content series AMG Uncovered in 2020 in order to broaden the spectrum of their moving image portfolio. To further emphasise its focus towards a refined lifestyle, they were looking for a way to initiate a broader female shift towards the brand. They wanted to increase the engagement and loyalty of this new target group of hedonists while still motivating their existing customers.

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AMG Uncovered. Be Yourself Feat. Jess Hart © Looping Group

“At some point, I had to ask myself what my true passion was.”

Jess Hart, Model, Los Angeles

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AMG Uncovered. Unstoppable Spirit Feat. The Duc Ngo © Looping Group

“I think my drive for being successful comes from being an immigrant. I always had to do more than others.”

The Duc Ngo, Chef, Berlin

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AMG Uncovered. Chase Your Dreams Feat. Debra Bennett © Looping Group

“I just knew that I wanted to do that: racing.”

Debra Bennett, Race Driver, Austin

The Twist: We initiated a new storytelling approach, stimulating the interests of these hedonists by pairing the cars with absorbing personalities and focusing on how AMG inspires them. Among others, we identified will.i.am and Jess Hart as protagonists whose life is a lesson in courage, tenacity, and determination. Pushing limits is in their DNA and driving their AMGs gives them the thrill of independence and freedom they have been seeking all their life.

A photo of Will.I.Am as a child in school.
A picture of a chocolate dessert with ice cream and chocolate sauce.
A photo of Debra Bennet, race driver, as a child driving in her go-cart.
A photo of Debra Bennet, race driver, standing on the race track for Mercedes-AMG.

The Result: Over 4.1m people have viewed the AMG Uncovered Series with an average watch time of 64%. The average number of female viewers has risen above the benchmark at 37%. In just over a year, the series has generated over 20m impressions.

So, what drives you?

Close-up of black Mercedes-AMG reflecting the sun.Close-up of black Mercedes-AMG reflecting the sun.
3 minute Read

When we tell a story, we try to build something. A shared emotion, a powerful idea. But sometimes, we do it the other way around. And build something that tells a story in itself. Have a look:

Portrait of Virgil Abloh, fashion designer

VIRGIL

ABLOH’S
CERAMIC
BLOCK

In 2019, Vitra and Virgil Abloh presented the installation TWENTYTHIRTYFIVE, a vision of a future home, in the Fire Station on the Vitra Campus. Three products were developed and launched in a limited edition as spin-offs of the exhibition. Vitra and Virgil Abloh made editions of limited pieces available online.

Vitra and Virgil Abloh presented the installation TWENTYTHIRTYFIVE, a vision of a future home, in the Fire Station on the Vitra CampusVitra and Virgil Abloh presented the installation TWENTYTHIRTYFIVE, a vision of a future home, in the Fire Station on the Vitra Campus

“I loved the idea of introducing some Prouvé classics to a generation today that might not know the importance of his work.”

Virgil Abloh

Limited to just 999 pieces worldwide, the Vitra x Virgil Abloh Ceramic Block is a powerful statement piece. Each Ceramic Block is individually numbered 1 to 999.

Vitra and Virgil Abloh presented the installation TWENTYTHIRTYFIVE, a vision of a future home, in the Fire Station on the Vitra Campus
Black and white portrait of Tina Turner smiling

TINA TURNER’S

GOLD RING

Tina Turner once strolled through a flea market where she discovered a golden thumb ring. The moment she put it on her thumb, she felt stronger, more confident. In this ring, she saw a symbol for the inner strength she was just beginning to discover in herself. A Limited Edition, 14 Carat Rose Gold replica of this ring, handcrafted by Tina Turner’s personal Swiss jeweller is included in the book Tina Turner: That's My Life.

Close up of the Tina Turner RingClose up of the Tina Turner Ring

“It was a magic moment.”

Tina Turner

Close up of the red and sparkly Tina Turner Dress

TINA TURNER’S

DRESS

Georgio Armani designed this stunning red dress for Tina, and she wore it on her sell out 50th Anniversary Tour in 2009, which was seen by over one million enraptured fans. This dress is a famous piece of Tina’s history and a piece of it is included in the book Tina Turner: That's My Life.

Picture of Tina Turner in her red sparkly dressPicture of Tina Turner in her red sparkly dress

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

Tina Turner

Portrait of young Tina Turner, licking her red lips

TINA TURNER’S

KISS

Tina Turner is one of the best-selling recording artists of all time. She has received 12 Grammy Awards and is the first Black artist and female to be featured on the cover of Rolling Stone. She has sold over 100 million records worldwide, A serviette with a special lipstick kiss from Tina is included in the book Tina Turner: That's My Life.

Napkin kissed and signed by Tina TurnerNapkin kissed and signed by Tina Turner

“My legacy is that I stayed on course from the beginning to the end, because I believed in something inside of me.”

Tina Turner

Telekom Electronic Beat's Cube

TELEKOM

ELECTRONIC

BEAT’S CUBE

The Cube consists of a 360° video collage covering the most memorable cornerstones of the last two decades, combined with a series of six films showcasing and celebrating the platform’s legacy in the fields of music, innovation, fashion, culture, and community.

“We hope it’s a way to get closer to topics that are physical and tactile in nature—club culture, fashion, music production—make them literally touchable.”

Telekom Electronic Beats

With club culture organically dovetailing into the digital realm, the design studio’s collaboration with Telekom Electronic Beats acts as a testament to the web’s reflective and still under-explored potential.

Telekom Electronic Beat's Cube

SHOOTING

THE IMPOSSIBLE

The Asus Zenbook Story

SHE’S ALL
OF US

The alicia keys X Mercedes-Benz Story

War live
on TikTok

A P!NG story about the battle on Social Media

MY FATHERS
DREAM

The BART HICKEY x Mercedes-AMG Story

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