Mercury Gets ‘Lucky’ on the Web

NEW YORK Mercury is attempting to shatter its stodgy image with an online effort that centers on a series of profoundly bizarre Web videos called “Meet the Lucky Ones.”

The effort, which launches today at meettheluckyones.com, follows the meanderings of a “slightly dysfunctional” family and plugs Ford unit’s Mariner utility.

Unlike other online movie efforts, like BMW Films, the movies aren’t flashy and don’t feature big stars. Instead, they offer a kind of dry, hopeless, view of American life that usually doesn’t make the cut for TV ads.

The stories, shot in washed-out Technicolor, reveal the lives of Mike the dentist, his family, clients and others living in a bland suburbia.

In one, the family sits stone-faced as they wait for Mike to appear late from work for “family night,” a concept he invented. In another, Mike plays a banjo while sitting in his dentist’s chair, as a voiceover states that Mike has been called a great banjo player, but “will never be called a great dentist.”

Mecury’s interactive agency, WPP Group’s Wunderman in Detroit, is responsible for the effort. Derek Cianfrance, who won a best-cinematographer award last year at Sundance, directed the films.

In a statement, John Fitzpatrick, Mercury marketing manager, said the company has earmarked about 25 percent of the brand’s budget on “digital and customer relationship events, which is a substantial commitment when compared to prior launches,” he said.

As part of the promo for the site, the company bought out Yahoo!’s news site today, with the idea that pre-election traffic there would be significant. The company also ran a full-page ad today in The New York Times.