Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Men of Metal: Mini Cooper Robots Attack!

Having recently done a post dealing with robots, religion, and mythology I've decided to follow it up with, what else, more robots. I was about eighteen-years-old when I found Men of Metal: Eyewitness Accounts of Humanoid Robots by Rowland Samuel in the copy of Esquire (April 2004) I was reading. As the following video explains Men of Metal was a pamphlet created as part of a viral marketing campaign designed to sell mini cooper automobiles by creating an urban legend which claimed that a UK based mini cooper engineer named Dr. Colin Mayhew had turned mad scientist on the world and was building a fleet of giant robots out of the vehicles.

Unfortunately the ad campaign was not a particularly big success, in part because so many people found it so convincing as the ad itself gave no indication at any point (whether in the pamphlet or on the various wed sites it led you to) that the whole charade was nothing more than one big car commercial.

As for myself, at age eighteen I had read alot of 'strange but true' books on various topics (UFOs, ghosts, bigfoot, etc...) and could smell a hoax the moment I read the opening of the pamphlet which quoted Aristotle about being open minded. Nevertheless, I still found the whole thing quite fascinating.

Today the ‘Mini Cooper Robot Myth’ remains a fascinating footnote in the long history of humankind’s relationship with mythical mechanical men.

Sources/More Information:

Pursuing Marketing Buzz at NYTimes.com

Men of Metal: Horror or Hoax and Men of Metal: The Anatomy of a Hoax by Michael Walls

The Art of The Lie: Disinformation in Advertising by John J. Fanning (One man who was not at all amused by the myth)

Links to the various Men of Metal viral websites


kamagra said...

The plot sounds a little bit crazy but at least in the way that it is something that it would make people freak out.

Eric Kelly said...

I remember reading this in a mechanics waiting room, I think it presented itself as an excerpt from an incoming novel. It even included an email contact for the author and I emailed him telling him I loved it and when will the book be out? Never heard back and now I see why. Just a car commercial. Bummer, was a good "story".

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