Wednesday, January 16, 2008

You've gotta put Mercury on your zzzzzz

Sometimes I wonder if certain companies even have ad agencies. Watch this Mercury ad and try to tell me it wasn't assembled in-house.

When Ford, which also has cars that run SYNC, made an ad showing off the feature, it made it a funny one. Not jaw-droppingly hilarious or anything like it probably wanted to be, but at least it went for a joke. So what does Mercury do when presented with the opportunity to sell the same feature?

Woman: "Can your car play every song you own? Play track 'Let It Roll.'"

Oh, that famous song "Let It Roll," by that famous band Common Sense. They're famous. What on earth was the budget for this ad? Remember, Ford owns Mercury; it seems telling that they went with relatively big-name artists Smashing Pumpkins and Korn for their own ads but foisted a "reggae/pop" band off on Mercury, apparently the red-headed stepchild of the Ford family. Although really, none of those bands has been popular since 1999 or so.

Woman: "And can it make phone calls, all at the sound of your voice? Call Amy."
Woman on phone: "Hi, this is Amy!"
Woman: "Be right there!"

What the hell? That's a conversation? First of all, you're both super boring. Second of all, why does Amy answer the phone like she's practicing her answering machine greeting?

Woman: "If it's the attention-getting Mercury Milan, it can."

When you have to throw in an editorial like that, it's pretty clear you're just making shit up. What is attention-getting about a pedestrian-looking mid-size car? Do they all come with "Featuring the awesome power of SYNC" stenciled on the hood in spray paint? Ooh, you could put some bad-ass flames around it - that would turn some heads. Wait, what's that? It's a totally boring, could-be-any-other-car model? Awesome. Of course, this isn't the first time Mercury has tried rather limply to make the Milan sound even remotely appealing.

My favorite parts of this ad are the several seconds of dead air right after the song starts playing - because we all needed the women to shut up so we could drink in the car's ability to drive in a straight line - and after the announcer gives the lease price, apparently so we have time to read the tiny, unreadable lease boilerplate without distraction. Are you sure you don't want to tell us anything else about the car you could have squeezed into those extra five seconds, guys? Just the one third-party feature? Okay.

Woman: "You've gotta put Mercury on your list."

I promise that if, at the end of this year, we do a "Most Stultifying Ads of 2008" post, I will put Mercury on my list. You have my word on that.

1 comment:

Quivering P. Landmass said...

The "You gotta put Mercury on your list" tagline in general could not have less impact. Other companies go for more direct calls to action, "Just do it," "Drivers Wanted," etc. But Mercury is essentially saying "Just think about our car. Please, just jot down the name somewhere and get back to us if you're interested. No pressure." Is that selling a lot of cars for them?