Campaign: Mercury's "Lucky Ones"

By Ms Published on .

Mercury is on a new-media rampage with its own version of the BMW Films phenomenon at Though this film series isn't about action, it's more about hipsterish inaction: a bunch of quirky narratives somewhat in the style of the films of Wes Anderson. The opening teaser, which also suggests David Lynch on a particularly laid-back day, introduces us to 10 people and what are intended to be tantalizing titles-"Someone will lose a frog," "Someone will win a million dollars," "Someone will fall in love" and "Someone will die." The ensuing tales-a collection of 30-second films and web pages in which stories unfold over five weeks-is about discovery, which will entice the 25- to 34-year-olds who troll the internet for entertainment and who previously had no awareness of the Mercury brand, claims Kirt Gunn, head of interactive agency Kirt Gunn & Associates. "It's about digging in and figuring out what the characters are all about," he says, describing the project as an "independent film with filmic and interactive elements," creating an explorable online world with sympathetic, sometimes funny characters in dysfunctional situations. Of course, there's also the lure of winning a car, though you don't have to watch the films to be eligible. Commissioned by Y&R/N.Y. and Mercury's digital agency Wunderman/Detroit, Gunn further expanded the talent roster, which boasts creative consultants Paul Malmstrom and Dave Clark of Mother/N.Y.; Ed Herbstman, a contributing writer for HBO's Da Ali G Show; and director Derek Cianfrance and executive producers Jon Kamen and Greg Schultz.

Set to a haunting yet bouncy score composed by the Magnetic Fields' Stephin Merritt, the hard-sell is low-key, with only one storyline featuring a product placement. "We wanted to be honest about the way that the product was integrated into the content," says Gunn. "Our objective from the beginning was to do this with a light touch in a subtle way. It shouldn't feel like marketing or interfere with daily life." Inspired casting and serious subjects like death and infidelity, laced with humor, up the cool factor and help the work to stand on its own, if viewers invest the time. It seems to be developing a warm and fuzzy feeling with consumers thus far, with 30,000 people submitting their e-mail addresses to Mercury to receive updates about the site, according to Gunn.

Since each character has only 30 seconds of his story told on film each week, and visitors can view them in any order, writers had story trajectories mapped out and multiple scripts written-but director Cianfrance was left to decide which moments to film during the eight-day shoot in Memphis. "We had a 70-page script that we could have shot, but we didn't have that kind of budget or time, so what I had to do was boil the scenes down to their essence," he says. Filling in the gaps between filmed elements are backgrounds for each character, usually a desk or bureau surface, filled with personal items that tell what happened between films. For example, Sharon, who has just come home from graduate school, has a page that shows the inside of her suitcase, with clickable elements such as her diary, digital camera and want ads.

Client: Mercury Agencies: Wunderman, Y&R/N.Y., Kirt Gunn & Associates Creative Consultant: Mother Writer: Ed Herbstman Director: Derek Cianfrance/ Music: Stephin Merritt Editor: Gregory Brunkalla/Outpost Digital

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