Guilt, Love, Death, Redemption, Banjos and Pet Frog Soup.
January 11, 2005 2:32 PM   Subscribe

Meet The Lucky Ones. (more...)
posted by miss lynnster (66 comments total)
This was a promotional website done by Mercury, with surprisingly little "self-promotion" in it. I found it when it was first out and found myself looking forward to every new episode (there were only five). I had assumed someone here would've posted it... but it seems they haven't (you'll correct me if I'm wrong, I know).

Start with Episode One. Each character has their own episode video and a background environment with clickable areas. Look for the yellow dots on their environment as you scroll through it and you'll see clues and details about that character's storyline. Brilliant photography & a wonderful idea. Makes me almost want to buy a Mercury just to thank them for the entertainment.
posted by miss lynnster at 2:38 PM on January 11, 2005

Oh yeah, the header was too long but it said "Guilt, Love, Death, Redemption, Banjos and Pet Frog Soup."
posted by miss lynnster at 2:40 PM on January 11, 2005


Cars for old people + ads for young people.

posted by mudpuppie at 2:55 PM on January 11, 2005

Is that Stephin Merritt singing?
posted by jpoulos at 2:57 PM on January 11, 2005

That's definitely Stephin Merritt singing.
posted by jpoulos at 3:00 PM on January 11, 2005

I'm hoping you're not talking to me, because that would be nasty. Listen, I worked in advertising for years and hated it... but I found this site to be well done and a risky idea since it was for a different target market and has so little commercial appeal. I am not buying a Mercury because of it, but since I am a professional art director for a living I can certainly appreciate the efforts that went into it & I decided to share it.

So keep your expletives to yourself.
posted by miss lynnster at 3:10 PM on January 11, 2005

0 - 14
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 3:13 PM on January 11, 2005

0 - 14 indeed...
posted by Dreamghost at 3:14 PM on January 11, 2005

And as an art director, you should understand how something loses value when it's compromised for the sake of marketing, especially when that marketing is the driving force behind it.

In and of itself, it's nothing to stand out. But oh, because it's an ad, now it's a genuine work of art. Please.

The iPod thing is interesting itself, most notably how people rush to show off their peripheral rather than the music on it.
posted by Mach3avelli at 3:15 PM on January 11, 2005

Stephin Merritt just got used in a friggin' car commercial.

I have to go be sick... and then cry for a long while.
posted by BobFrapples at 3:16 PM on January 11, 2005

Well, it didn't load up for me so I can't speak to the link. And, since its an old marketing campaign that's not being linked to in order to generate buzz or clicks or whatever, I don't see this as corporate shilling.

But hey, maybe I should be able to see the link before deciding one way or the other.

And xmutex, here's an idea. Don't read the threads you know are going to piss you off and you don't think should be here or take them to the grey. Your whining adds nothing.

And Mach3avelli, your second comment was alot more helpful than your first one.
posted by fenriq at 3:18 PM on January 11, 2005

Whatever fenriq. The Apple thread (and this) is advertising. That's against the rules of MetaFilter. I'll make a post about every Microsoft press release that details a new product and we'll see how much "whining" there is.
posted by xmutex at 3:24 PM on January 11, 2005

Whatever. One day I link to something and everyone is nice. Hell, people even liked my goofy Vic Tayback post. I wasn't trying to go against the rules, I have seen more than a few things on here that were advertising ("People who look like their dogs" anyone?).

There's a good reason why a lot of people are too scared to post things here. Despite all of the good posts that are made, if people aren't fond of one they attack you in a way that is unnecessarily vitriolic and hateful. People like Mach3avelli are so quick to tell me to fuck myself, yet don't post anything themselves.

Personally, I ABSOLUTELY don't agree that something has no value if it's done for marketing, I think that's an elitist bag of bullshit (and I went to one of the most elitist bag of bullshit art schools around). The Sistene Chapel was a piece of funded marketing, if you're going to go there. I didn't say this WAS the Sistene Chapel, I simply thought it was interesting. So you don't. Big fucking deal. Personally, I find the nastiness unnecessary. Just think for yourself... see the link if you want to. Like it. Or don't like it. Kinda like music or television. Make your own choices instead of yelling to censor things.
posted by miss lynnster at 3:32 PM on January 11, 2005

FWIW, I thought it was a neat post. Didn't bother me that Mercury funded it -- it was definitely "alternative" marketing. It's not like it was a link to the cute Welch's grape juice kids or anything.
posted by mudpuppie at 3:36 PM on January 11, 2005

Personally, I ABSOLUTELY don't agree that something has no value if it's done for marketing

Let me ask you then, were Mercury completely unaffiliated, and this was a short done on someone's own time, would you feel it merits its own FPP, or just another little video for
posted by Mach3avelli at 3:41 PM on January 11, 2005

xmutex, advertising finds its way into every hole in the capitalized world. It's the one language everyone speaks, more than English or even "Home," more like music or sex or love or a comfort.

You shrill humorless freaks must have no joy whatsoever to justify go out of your way to rail against a self-contained this relatively expressive and long-since-forgotten.

I agree that Capital-A Advertising has to be held to a much higher standard of art than if, say, someone had just made these little character sketches with their own money and thrown them on a server.

But you know, advertising is a drug too, and to quote Bill Hicks, who on the face of it would have been proud of all of you for your hard stance against marketing in all its forms: Without drugs, there'd be no great art.

Someone got paid to make a site that isn't gone yet and had a couple of decent vignettes in it. Some of that money made it to Stephen Merritt, who I can guarantee you is not sitting in a hot tub full of champagne while Farnsworth is off polishing his three Bentleys.

The shorts were a little trite, and the advertising part of the site seemed a little tacked on. I can see why they abandoned it. But this is not where the apocalypse comes rushing in.

I count ten FPPs so far today dealing with sales and promoting commerce of one kind or another. That average doesn't go down in previous days. Advertising fills every hole in the universe. The medium of advertising is not wrong or right. It's how it's used that's wrong or right. This long-abandoned hulk of an ad campaign is so far from an egregious use of advertising that I wonder if you have a special hatred for Mercuries.

Look. I'm not saying "fuck you, deal with it, anarchist." What I am saying is that your hard line on this stuff is, I think, a little misplaced.
posted by chicobangs at 3:41 PM on January 11, 2005

You know, lose that second paragraph. I don't know what happened there.
posted by chicobangs at 3:42 PM on January 11, 2005

And as an art director, you should understand how something loses value when it's compromised for the sake of marketing, especially when that marketing is the driving force behind it.

posted by kenko at 3:44 PM on January 11, 2005

I thought it was pretty cool, too...
I'm not sure why everyone is so flustered over it..
An advertising link? So was "Trunk Monkey" but that was cool, too...
posted by Balisong at 3:44 PM on January 11, 2005

I really don't like stuff like this. It's pretty sneaky really.

A number of car companies throw cash into short films. The films are sometimes interesting, but at the end of the day I can't get around the fact that they were created not for the sake of telling a story, but for selling a product. This is a terribly cynical approach to film making, and it comes out in the finished product.
posted by Rusty Iron at 3:48 PM on January 11, 2005

Alas Crash, you don't count. You were the first person to attack me on my very first metafilter post, so I learned early not to expect you to show kindness towards anything I do. (You never forget your first, you know.)

And to answer your question Mach3avelli, I simply thought it was interesting and well done. I liked the photography and I thought it was a creative idea that was interesting. I didn't care about the Mercury thing because I didn't find it to be of much relevance. If it was a website done by an independent film company, I actually would've probably found it even more interesting than I did & I probably would've posted it when I found it.
posted by miss lynnster at 3:48 PM on January 11, 2005

Yeesh, that's not even interesting advertising...

Wake me up when they turn the car into a giant robot that pops and locks.
posted by SweetJesus at 3:50 PM on January 11, 2005

I liked it, Miss Lynnster.
I don't think that a post is bad merely because some people find one aspect or another of it beneath them and I certainly don't understand the outrage when a post doesn't embody what they think is the best of the web. And I particularly don't understand how anyone can waste such an incredible amount of time bitching about a particular thread. Just say to yourself that it's not your cup of tea and get on with your life.
posted by leftcoastbob at 3:51 PM on January 11, 2005

And I particularly don't understand how anyone can waste such an incredible amount of time bitching about a particular thread.

My 9th grade English teacher said that the only people who become English teachers by choice are people who love to have an excuse to correct others. Pretty much the same situation here: set up some rules (e.g. grammar or no-posting-promotional-materials-to-MeFi) and then kick back and wait for someone to break them. Ignore the context and feel special because you got to blow the whistle.
posted by rxrfrx at 3:57 PM on January 11, 2005

This site seems to be about everyone's reaction to the site, more than the site itself.

Chicobangs is right on point though. Some of the money made it into stephen merritt's pocket, some of the money made it into my friend's pocket who did most of the flash work on that site.

I was pleasantly amazed by the piece. It is far too weird and far too involved to have made it through the filter that keeps brands like mercury safe and boring.
posted by freq at 4:01 PM on January 11, 2005

For that matter, when they posted my website on here (how I found out about metafilter in the first place), it was a link to my own, self-promotional art site.
posted by miss lynnster at 4:01 PM on January 11, 2005

I don't think that a post is bad merely because some people find one aspect or another of it beneath them

Hey, if you can look beyond commercials as them trying to market to you, ignorance is bliss, I guess. It's the same reason I can't stand the American Idol genre of music. Other than the talent, everything about it is manufactured.

I tend to like my music/movies unperturbed by commercial interests. Like lyrics and instrumentation or movie concepts dreamed up by the artists themselves.

Again, if you can tolerate the lack of it, then we come from different schools of thought.

And bitching about people bitching doesn't exactly elevate you either.
posted by Mach3avelli at 4:09 PM on January 11, 2005

Thanks Miss Lynnster.
We are the lucky ones.

P.S. I'll find my frog.
posted by page404 at 4:12 PM on January 11, 2005

Mach3avelli, I agree that commercialism is a disease and that advertising and marketing is the enslavement of art for the almighty buck.

But I also appreciate a well made, well executed commercial. Perhaps not in the same way that I appreciate listening to Beethoven or Miraim Makeba but it is a kind of art in and of itself. Its part of the reason they give awards for the best commercials.
posted by fenriq at 4:18 PM on January 11, 2005

btw, Miss Lynnster, I apologize for my harsh first words. It was uneccesary of me.
posted by Mach3avelli at 4:20 PM on January 11, 2005

So was that "someone will lose a frog" line in the movie a Hopkin Green Frog reference after all, or just a timely well, kind of tardy coincidence?
posted by emelenjr at 4:24 PM on January 11, 2005

No worries. I sincerely apologize for reacting so defensively. I just didn't expect this measly little post to be such a big deal & inspire so much hate. I still think the site is interesting in a Twin Peaks-ish kind of way, no matter if anyone else agreed.
posted by miss lynnster at 4:25 PM on January 11, 2005

See, the biggest irony about my passionate dislike for all things commercial is my ambition to enter into the marketing/advertising industry.

Sort of the same way rabid homophobes are gay themselves.

Sort of the way Interpol Anti-Pedophilia Unit agents are likely pedophiles themselves.
posted by Mach3avelli at 4:30 PM on January 11, 2005

Sorts like the way that a Libretarian-anarchist like myself hopes and dream (or would kill) to be on the Supreme Court...
posted by Balisong at 4:43 PM on January 11, 2005

So was that "someone will lose a frog" line in the movie a Hopkin Green Frog reference after all, or just a timely well, kind of tardy coincidence?

Tardy? An unfortunate pun given the facts behind the Hopkin Green Frog meme...
posted by crank at 4:50 PM on January 11, 2005

You know what, Mach3avelli? You have a lot in common with me back when I was in art school. It's so ironic how vehemently opposed to all things commercial I was while simultaneously in training to create commercial art. Now after 15 years in the workplace my soul has been stomped into a tiny pile of rubble... so I just don't have the energy to ride around on my high horse like I used to.

Oh crash, you're such a sweet talker. ;)
posted by miss lynnster at 4:54 PM on January 11, 2005

Attacking FPP's seems to be a sport around here to this newbie. Why do people even get upset any more? It is very predictable and part of the site like the blue background.
posted by UseyurBrain at 5:01 PM on January 11, 2005

Yecch, I found my frog. Jesper, you look happy today.
posted by page404 at 5:17 PM on January 11, 2005

Advertising controversies aside, the site would be a lot more compelling if it told its stories without the little "play movie" movies next to each character's portrait. Llikewise, it would play better without such a lengthy intro movie: first it seemed like a wealth critique, which was fine, and then it started feeling like a trailer for a quirky, overpopulated dv movie that shouldn't be made. If any little movies that the site included were integrated into the voyeuristic [not the right word -- better would be a word about sneaking around and looking through someone's belongings] clicking-around sections, like the way the phone messages are, they wouldn't feel nearly as annoying.

(i found weirdly pleasant the characters' names floating on-screen at the end of each of their videos. also, i liked the little girl's 2nd episode video. also, i didn't get a chance to watch all of them. does anyone have a few to recommend? has anyone sussed out who [was hired to] put the site together?)
posted by nobody at 5:32 PM on January 11, 2005

I'm very self-centered and Machiavellian, so I think/hope I'll manage.

Oh, I'm sure you will. You may shift & adapt in ways you don't expect though. I know I did.

FWIW, I actually manage much better now than I did when I was expending so much energy riding my high horse as an art school snob. Not only that, but I pay my bills easier and am a far happier & more creative person now that I'm not busy being judgmental. Careerwise, I've done quite okay... far better than I'd actually expected when I was starting out. (Funny thing though... of the people I started out with... the ones who boasted about how Machiavellian they were? Well, I'm not sure why but those guys are the ones who are still stuck in cubicles at the soul-less corporations I resigned from years ago. Hmmm.)
posted by miss lynnster at 6:00 PM on January 11, 2005

Having finally been able to see the movie and now being more or less fully informed. I liked it, I had no idea what it was about but I liked it.

Thanks for the link to miss lynnster's short but interesting posting history, Optimus, I'd almost forgotten about the Zappa one. I really enjoyed that link and have enjoyed a good number of her posts.

Shall I call the police and let them know that someone has a gun to your head and is forcing you to read and comment in threads that you don't like and wouldn't normally be seen in?

On Preview: 'zactly what she said.
posted by fenriq at 6:13 PM on January 11, 2005

Getting back to the posting, if we might- I thought it interesting but creepy. I don't think I'll be sleeping well tonight.
posted by IndigoJones at 6:48 PM on January 11, 2005

I watched the films last month. They're cute. I really liked it. And Michelangelo sculpted for profit.
Metafilter: I liked you before you sold out.
posted by NickDouglas at 7:12 PM on January 11, 2005

I thought the piece was quirky and interesting. You can't say that about much advertising these days.

I mean, just because its ultimate intent is to (heaven forbid!) sell something, doesn't make it vapid and meaningless. Artistic and creative thought still went into it. It can still be considered artistic, could it not?

I met an artist once who said that anything could be considered art. The only criteria was if the artist intended his work to be art.

But I guess that means that the pile of crumbs I swept up in the kitchen this morning can be considered art if I say it is. :)
posted by quietfish at 7:21 PM on January 11, 2005

If we're bagging this post for shilling, when it's an inactive campaign, we may as well bag the Schnapi post for pushing a current commercial concern onto us. Small alligator shill in the motherfucking house!
posted by cosmonik at 7:33 PM on January 11, 2005

Wasn't the piss thread "advertising" too? Where was the anger and expletives and gnashing of teeth?
posted by uncanny hengeman at 7:48 PM on January 11, 2005

Jesper. Jesper Jesper Jesper. I can't stop saying, typing, and writing Jesper. Jesper.


The 60s, 70s, and 80s have a lot to answer for.
posted by WolfDaddy at 7:53 PM on January 11, 2005

Wow, if not for the blue background, I'd be wondering which page I was on...
posted by Tikirific at 8:02 PM on January 11, 2005

I routinely scan through the MeFi page to look for miss lynnster’s most recent post. Her posts tend to uniqueness and aren’t as mundane as many of the others that I’ve seen here. Advertising can be entertaining, humorous and imaginative. Don’t let yourself get ruffled over small things.
posted by X4ster at 8:30 PM on January 11, 2005

Wow, if not for the blue background, I'd be wondering which page I was on..

Funny. I think the bile is really familiar...
posted by mudpuppie at 9:51 PM on January 11, 2005

Nice house. Seems like a sponsorship more than a purposeful ad to push a product. The 'lucky ones' don't appear to be rapidly grouping to center around the car as a focus, so the car side of the site is distanced somewhat from the rest.
Lively pics of the characters.
posted by buzzman at 12:06 AM on January 12, 2005

This advertisement campaign is not inactive. Mercury still exists and all of us are consumers. It was specifically designed for us to be talking about it here and sending it to all our friends and family. That's why they probably focus grouped people exactly like us and paid someone like us to make this ad that would trick us into paying attention to their product. We are now all unpaid tools of their marketing campaign. This advertisement somehow becomes legitimate when you give it to me instead of them, and they know that. They want us to buy. Mercury is not a patron of the arts. The moment I saw the video, before I knew what it was, I recognized it as either an advertisement or an extremely on-point parody. It is not art. It is trash. It's edgy trash. I'm not dogging this post. It's not offensive to post advertisements necessarily, but I won't have anyone calling it content, let alone art. And if you don't believe me just ask them.
posted by cindileper at 2:15 AM on January 12, 2005

cindileper, your first four links don't make sense in this conversation.

That last one, though, should be required viewing for anyone with an unformed worldview.
posted by chicobangs at 5:53 AM on January 12, 2005

Those 4 links are this conversation.

They're more examples of advertisements, each one tailored to appeal to a different "category" of person, that are misrepresenting themselves and attempting to manipulate the viewer into thinking that they are looking at art, philosophy, or some other kind of culture when the true motivation of the advertisement it obviously to sell something, rather then express a feeling or an idea.

I think that this type of advertisement it deceptive and possibly destructive to real culture.

I'd also simply like to be afforded the right to know when I am being subjected to an advertisement, because advertisements often use nasty devices like making people feel bad about themselves or promote and exploit ridiculous ideas such as people of color being exotic. They also often coopt good ideas, water them down, sell them, and render them meaningless- like feminism, multiculturalism, and the maybe whole indie thing, whatever that used to mean, who can even remember at this point... you get the picture.

These things are not harmless. They're everywhere and there's at least a couple targeted at you, which is why I thought it was relevant to post some other examples. And the one's that aren't specifically targeted at you can be pretty funny.
posted by cindileper at 6:47 AM on January 12, 2005

I think if you are aware that what you are watching is an advertisement you can avoid the attempted brainwash.

The same does not apply for children's advertising, as they are often too young know any better.

Yes, marketers are trying to make money. Yes, they try to do this by creating The Campaign of the Century to lure people in and get them talking about the product. It does not mean that genuine artistic effort didn't go into it: scriptwriting, camera work, editing, graphics… all of this can be considered “art” of sorts, can it not? I thought there were parts of this ad that were really well executed.
posted by quietfish at 7:59 AM on January 12, 2005

Those 4 links are this conversation.

No, cindileper, they're not. They're other corporations that have used viral marketing in the past.

This conversation is about the relative merits of the above link. The fact that it's advertising should be factored into the assessment of it (and I think at this point we can safely say it has), but throwing more straw men on the fire isn't doing the discussion any good.

You know, for someone so rabidly and hardcore anti-corporate as you seem to be, you've just created four more fairly high-profile links to major corporations. Nice work!
posted by chicobangs at 8:16 AM on January 12, 2005

blah blah blah blah
posted by Debaser626 at 8:42 AM on January 12, 2005

Ads like these are the reason I miss the days of jingles and silly spokescharacters.

And that song was annoyingly whiny.
posted by jonmc at 9:28 AM on January 12, 2005

Yeah, 'cuz silly spokescharacters like "Speedy the Alka Seltzer Mascot" and Clara "Where's The Beef" Peller were never annoying or whiny at allll...
posted by miss lynnster at 10:44 AM on January 12, 2005

Two seperate things, miss lynnster.

I miss old-school jingle & character ads because they knew their place. They didn't try to make automibile ads into Citizen Fucking Kane.

I woould've found the song whiny and annoying regardless of where I heard it.
posted by jonmc at 11:22 AM on January 12, 2005

Fair enough.

That said, who on earth said this was Citizen Fucking Kane? I said (repeatedly) that I found The Lucky Ones "interesting." I sure as hell found it more interesting and FAR less commercially manipulative than "Subservient Chicken." Yet folks just luurrrrvvvved that skanky chicken... UGH. It didn't make me want to go to Burger King, it just made me want to clean my apartment.

I'm not talking about you here, jonmc... but I'm learning that I'll probably never relate to why some MeFites are so inconsistently & unpredictably ready to throw their vitriol at someone for trying to take risks here & there & post something different one day from the day before. People (often those who don't ever post themselves) throw out such extremist, anger-ridden reactions to small stuff that is so unworthy of any heated drama (and yet they're silent to posts that are SO stupid and poorly written that they should be questionable!) that threads become petty, name-callin', fight-pickin' instead of interesting dialogue. I find that to be a shame & very dull.

Admittedly I'm a bit Pollyanna but I'll never apologize for that quality... in my mind, life is FAR too short to concentrate so hard on negatively picking a post so far apart that you're blind to the sentiments behind it or the good dialogue that it could inspire. But hey, that's me. No doubt I'm just getting old.
posted by miss lynnster at 12:47 PM on January 12, 2005

That said, who on earth said this was Citizen Fucking Kane? I said (repeatedly) that I found The Lucky Ones "interesting."

I exaggerated to make a point. Ads shouldn't be interesting. They should publicize the product. A chuckle or a catchy jingle is a bonus. The fact that so much creative effort is going into selling cars is what makes us angry. I'm a big fan of capitalism and I don't have any particular grudge against advertising and it even managed to irk me.

And that's the answer, different things produce inconsistent and unpredictable reactions in people.

And that music...suicidal drama club rock, yecch.
posted by jonmc at 12:58 PM on January 12, 2005

Ads shouldn't be interesting.

I don't agree with that at all, anymore than I believe that if something is funded by marketing that it is automatically worthless (as I said before, The Sistene Chapel was marketing if we're going to go there). I worked in advertising for years. The number one purpose of a campaign is to sell, and if it doesn't do that it fails. But on another hand, the best advertising SHOULD be interesting to people... this was David Ogilvy's credo, and this is why there are awards for advertising. By Ogilvy's perspective, this was a very poor campaign because it didn't make me want to buy anything, whether it was interesting or not. However even by his perspective, who says that if an ad campaign is a failure on a business level it is completely worthless to view for any reason? And who says if it succeeded on a business level it is completely worthless to view, as others in this thread have alluded?

As for the music, I didn't really pay as much attention to it. Didn't affect me.
posted by miss lynnster at 1:28 PM on January 12, 2005

Miss Lynnster, I haven't been attacking you or your post. It seems to me that the practice here on Metafilter is to discuss and find meaning and the like. It would be pretty boring if everyone just rained accolades of praise on every post. I'm not getting a bang out of fanning any fire. I think the value of the post was that it was an opportunity to talk about this type of advertisement. I really don't think you need to be so defensive.

And Chicobang, you're consistently missing the point. It doesn't matter if you watch tv, read crappy magazines, or go to those links. Everyone is subjected to advertisements everyday of their lives. But the hope is that you are prepared, critical, and educated about what you're getting into. I understand that you're trying to rip me apart or whatever, but whatever.

OK, I'm going to go and continue responding to posts I find interesting, as I just have, and not the "stupid and poorly written ones."
posted by cindileper at 6:14 PM on January 12, 2005

May I repeat: I didn't know it was advertising. Therefore all the hot-and-bothered people like cindileper are making me laff.

Although I will admit I only played two clips (intro included) and then gave up.

Also this comment: Ads shouldn't be interesting.

Wah fah?!
posted by uncanny hengeman at 7:48 PM on January 12, 2005

« Older Call girl messageboard   |   Feral Cities Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments