Mercury Launches Online Soap Opera

In an effort to "hip up" the brand, Mercury has launched Meet The Lucky Ones, an online soap opera-like webisode. It's a story written and produced in the style of a quirky independent film about the comic misadventures of a slightly dysfunctional family. The story unfolds over a five-week period and is told through an interlocking combination of Internet-delivered short films, coupled with interactive elements that reveal significantly more details about the characters and the plot than you get from the films themselves.

The film shorts depict a droll and bland existence filled with odd twists worthy of an episode of Six Feet Under.

Mercury's agency, Wunderman Detroit enlisted entertainment industry professionals to create the piece. Creator Kirt Gunn brought together a team of top talent, including: Director, Derek Cianfrance - 2003 Sundance Film Festival Award Winner for Best Cinematography, Quattro Noza; Executive Producers Jon Kamen and Greg Schultz of @radical media - Producer of the 2004 Academy Award Winner for Best Documentary Feature, Fog of War and of Fade to Black; Writer, Ed Herbstman - Da Ali G Show, Creative Consultants, Mother New York, and Musical Composer, Stephin Merritt - The Magnetic Fields.

While it doesn't quite come off as an indie film so far, it does introduce radical (as ad campaigns go) topics such as murder and death at the same time tying it to a chance to win a new car. Quirky indeed.

by Steve Hall    Nov- 1-04    

GM Adopts Weblogs With Launch of Smallblock Engine Blog

GM has launched a weblog to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the smallblock engine. The first entry was October 21 and discusses how the Chevrolet Corvette became a sports car once it had the GM smallblock V-8 was put under the hood.

Another couple posts review smallbock milestones over the last 50 years. Chevrolet Chief Engineer Ed Cole is highlighted as the man behind the creation of the engine. With proper syndication feeds, GM hopes, perhaps, to at least gather the following of some gearheads interested in this sort of thing. The blog sits on the domain indicating other blogs may follow but currently, the page only sports a GM Blogs logo. A call to Hass MS&L, a GM public relations agency and the whois registrant of the site confirms the site is a GM initiative but referred calls to GM's corporate communications.

We await callbacks.

There are innumerable, un-branded car enthusiast sites available and time will tell whether branded sites such as this GM blog will see adoption. While the site is clearly GM produced, it would behoove GM to state clearly on the weblog GM is firmly behind it so as to ward off skeptics. If GM does, in fact, have plans to launch more weblogs, the medium could gain more mainstream corporate awarness and be embraced by many more companies likely sitting on the sidelines pondering the viability of the medium.

by Steve Hall    Nov- 1-04    

Newspapers Still Most Credible Medium

As we all participate in the newspaper death watch, consumer are oblivious to our prognostications and still consider newspapers to be the most credible medium for news. In a recent InsightExpress study, Newspapers and local TV news ranked above other media as most credible.

by Steve Hall    Nov- 1-04    

First Men, Now Women Disappear From TV

Among ABC, CBS and NBC, ratings for women 18-49 are down cumulatively 13 percent. For women 18-34, ratings are down even further at 16 percent. The drop offs are coming mainly from daytime soaps. Perhaps women have finally realized that their own lives are, in fact, more exciting than watching the same person have sex with 12 different people over the span of 30 years. John Consoli's got all the details over at MediaWeek.

by Steve Hall    Nov- 1-04    

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Q4 Scatter Outlook Debatable

Calling the Q4 scatter broadcast market a "leaky faucet," Carat USA Director of National Broadcast Andy Donchin says business is coming in "but it isn't flowing." MediaWeek's Megan Larson posits the uncertainty surrounding the election and the price of oil as possible causes for the low demand as well as the late start of some Q4 programs.

Broadcast networks are doing business at or slightly above upfront prices; cable is a bit lower; movie studio money continues to flow.

And, eyeballs continue to shift unexpectedly.

by Steve Hall    Nov- 1-04