CIPC #310: Mercedes-Benz ad

In 2008, South-Africa was already bracing itself for the big event that would briefly add the word vuvuzela to the world’s vocabulary: the 2010 FIFA world cup. Amidst the clamour, and amidst the sky-high criminality in the country, Mercedes-Benz launched an advertisement campaign centred on safety. Their slogan was “You can never feel too secure” and their image that of a guy at a chessboard in full protective gear. In this post, we will try to establish whether the slogan or the picture is more stupid.

There are a couple of things in favour of the slogan. Like the fact that you absolutely and obviously can feel too secure. Feeling secure is a good thing if you actually are secure, otherwise it’s a disaster waiting to happen. In fact, many people are victimised or get into accidents because they feel more secure than they are. So a very strong showing on the stupidity front for the slogan.

Then again, the picture is a strong contender, too. For example, wearing protective gear to a chess game seems to be a sign of feeling cripplingly unsafe. It is also pretty pointless. The only case I know of of someone dying at the board is Olland, and he died of a heart attack — famously something body protection does not ward off.

So things look pretty even. We will have to take a look at the position to break the tie.1

The piece on h4 is not really identifiable and some more pieces may be lurking outside of the shot, but the rest is accurate. And that means our man is not very secure at all. The position of the kings strongly suggests he’s playing black — and he’s a billion pieces behind.

All in all, this is strong support for the stupidity of the picture. Together with the placement of the clock — too close to the black side — and the strange time shown on it, this is enough to break the tie and, thereby, to avoid armageddon.

Realism:1/5 It’s a mess of a position. I have no idea how they could possibly have gotten into this, nor what happened to all the pawns.2

Probable winner: White. He seems to be to move and has a mate in one. Even if he misses that, he can just take the queen.

1. [There’s no ties to break in the category best online diagram editor, though.]
2. [Possibly, they didn’t feel safe enough to participate in this game.]