Perhaps unsurprisingly, six out of 10 Spaniards think mechanics are liars, according to the Spanish Organization of Consumers and Users (OCU). The country's economic crisis has only exacerbated that belief.
Midas, though, claims to have built its reputation on transparency and sincerity. To give that notion salience, Proximity subjected its mechanics to a Minority Report-style lie detector test.
In characteristic ladybot voice, the video begins, "Hello, I am the EyeDetect machine. I have no feelings." The machine, which also functions as case study narrator (it's so handy!), explains that based on the (curiously human) idea that we can gauge truthfulness in people's eyes, it analyzes eyes as people speak.
Out of 100 volunteers, 20 Midas mechanics were subjected to more than 300 questions over the course of two days.
The results are available on an accompanying website, The Eyes That Do Not Lie, although we haven't been able to find a data set; it's more focused on videos that build on the core campaign.
But while its exoneration of Midas is iffy at best (the video focuses more on its results than it does on winning over skeptics, and mechanics from other brands were not tested), the campaign's main merit has been attracting interest in the sci-fi caliber EyeDetect, which calls itself "the world's best lie detector."
Asked if it actually exists, Proximity assures us it does. You can check it out at Converus, which commercializes it as a workplace tool ("Helps organizations manage risk and ensure workplace integrity") and whose experts spent 12 years building it.
"Midas bought it to use it in Spain with their mechanics. All this development took us four months, because the tests are very complex," explains creative director Pilar de Giles of Proximity. "For each truth, we needed to ask 300 questions. That is why we didn't take the tests in real-time in streaming."
It must have felt like an interrogation—or an eHarmony-style personality test, depending on your point of view. The questions revolved around what the company calls "The Six Truths of Midas," which include honesty and various Midas processes—for example, "if the bill always corresponded with the previous budget," de Giles tells us.
Assuming the machine is as good as the claim, the implications for most governments' torture strategies alone could be enormous, and the video does mention that people have approached Midas to ask it to test perhaps more immediate targets of public dishonesty.
"Midas don't really have a plan to use it in other context, but doors are not closed in any way," de Giles says. "On Twitter, users asked for it to be used by politicians and athletes, but they never responded. The government never took part in the online conversation."
In the end, this is a brand campaign, so we should stop poking around and just treat it like one. The results, of course, reflected a resounding success. "Confidence in Midas increased by 28.6 percent, putting us 34 points ahead of the competition. After the campaign, we climbed from fourth to first position as the favorite vehicle maintenance brand, ahead of official dealerships," says de Giles.
"The Eyes That Do Not Lie" cost €81,035 (about $90,000) to make, and Midas itself saw a sales increase of 5.1 percent over 2015—which should more than cover what we imagine were primarily the costs of licensing the EyeDetect. (Even assuming it took all the budget, which it clearly didn't, that's impressively cheap for a magic truth machine.)
Agency: Proximity Madrid
Eva Santos. General Creative Director
Susana Perez Bermejo. Executive Creative Director
Pilar de Giles López. Creative Director.
Raúl Somaza. Copywriter.
Francisco Cuadrado. Copywriter
Nestor Jimenez. Copywriter
Fernando Esteban. Copywriter.
Sacramento Martinez. Copywriter
Daniel Sánchez. Art director.
José Luis Diez. Art director.
Gemma Selga. Graphic Production Director.
Astriz Menendez. Graphic Production
Elias Maldonado y Teresa Muñoz. Video and photography.
Victor Madueño. Creative Technology Director
Rafael Zafra Polo. Systems Technology Director
Cristina Esteras Service Client Director
Erika Martín. Account Director.
Lidia del Puerto. Account Executive.