No, they’re not the Baldwins … they’re not even Emerson and Thoreau. I’m talking about Mopekey and Humkin, the two underwear clad, cereal-loving brothers who make up the central imaginary characters of Lincoln-Mercury’s new viral marketing campaign of “webisodes” known as “The Neverything”.
Have I lost my mind, you ask? Possibly, but before I cross over into the hyperreality of absurdist fiction and car commercials, perhaps you’d like to come along?
Quite simply, “The Neverything” is a tightly crafted, well-produced mini-film series (and associated interactive website, of course) with the ultimate goal of getting people to talk about the sheer bizarre-kooky-Napoleon Dynamitesque approach … and Lincoln-Mercury products. But it’s not just the oddball factor that makes this so appealing (and it is appealing). There are dark elements, humor and real intelligence driving the concept behind the story.
“The Neverything” revolves mostly around two brothers living on a ship in the middle of a field. They have no outside contact with anyone but the milkman who brings their “sustenance”. They survive on cereal (which looks an awful lot like Kix) and run around in their underwear all day. Sounds a lot like college, I know. The trick is — they don’t actually exist — they’re fictional characters created by a struggling novelist named Marian Walker (who is also, for our purposes, fictional). While we learn about the strange world of Humkin and Mopekey out in their field of nothing, we also find out that Marian has started to blur the lines of what is real life and what is happening in her developing novel. Which makes sense as she intentionally creates one of the characters to have an awareness that she’s writing about him … Are you starting to catch the Borges/Calvino-style metafictional drift here?
As if that weren’t enough to pull you in and make your head spin at the same time, there’s a movie and corresponding site that focuses on the perspective of the author, called Lovely By Surprise, brought to you by Lincoln (while “The Neverything” is specifically attributed to Mercury.)
What does all this mean? What does it have to do with selling a car and furthermore what does it have to do with literature? I’ll leave it to you to come up with your own answers, but the whole phenomenon has already started to generate some buzz, mainly by ad industry types and perplexed onlookers. I’m not sure what more to say … and perhaps I’ve said too much already; however the convoluted, intriguing, highly addictive storyline and motivation behind it may just possibly be the most clever bit of writing and creativity I’ve seen in a long while.
And I’m not even in the market for a new car.