Lucky Star (advertisement)

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Lucky Star was an advertisement commissioned by Mercedes-Benz in 2002 to promote their SL500 automobile. Created by advertising agency Campbell Doyle Dye,[1] it impersonated the form of a trailer for a purported thriller feature film titled Lucky Star.[2][3][4] Actors Benicio del Toro and Ana Cristina starred in the piece, which was directed by Michael Mann.[3][5]


The 2½-minute presentation centres on Mr. H (del Toro),[1] whose success in gambling and on stock market trading attracts the attention of United States intelligence agencies, who are suspicious as to how he can be so consistently lucky.[2] They cannot find any evidence of illegal behaviour but nonetheless continue to hound their suspect, eventually forcing him to flee.[2] Pursued by the authorities, including a helicopter, through downtown Los Angeles, he makes a surprise getaway in his car[1] with his female companion Evilina (Cristina).[5]


The piece aired in cinemas and on television in the United Kingdom market,[1] starting in July 2002.[4] Participating cinemas aired it as part of the forthcoming-presentations block, after other advertisements, to further promote the illusion of a feature film;[2][4] advertising rules only require clear transmission of an advertisement's nature in printed media.[2] A companion "official film" website was also commissioned.[3] The production cost for the entire campaign was estimated at GBP 5 million (then USD 7.9 million).[4]

Director Michael Mann imagined the piece as if it were a complete motion picture, hiring a number of the production staff he worked with on previous films Heat and The Insider,[3] likening the finished product to the classic 1955 film noir Kiss Me Deadly.[3] Although he was uncredited for his work[2] (the billing credited "Mercedes Films"[6]), he received an undisclosed fee for his involvement[2] and retained the rights to make a real Lucky Star movie in the future.[1][3] The "lucky star" (German: Dreifach stern) is the name of the three-pointed star that makes up the Mercedes Benz logo.[5]


Media reaction to the premise of Lucky Star commented on its style of product placement as novel and subtle,[2][4] drawing comparison with an earlier advertising campaign by BMW,[1] but also criticised Mann and Mercedes for utilising moviegoers' suspension of disbelief to promote their product.[2][4]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Inside Move: Mercedes "Star" trailer - Variety, July 14, 2002.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Wheels within wheels - The Guardian, July 9, 2002.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Michael Mann on Lucky Star - Film4
  4. ^ a b c d e f Mercedes Ad Looks Like Action Flick Archived 2008-07-05 at the Wayback Machine. -, July 24, 2002.
  5. ^ a b c Lucky Star -, August 16, 2002.
  6. ^ Video Trailer: Lucky Star, by Mercedes Films - Motorpulse