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Brand X: Bad Luck

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Brand: Excite@Home
Agency: Amster Yard (NY)
Creative director: Jeff Weiss

Lycos had that black labrador retriever, Yahoo! had its dorky craft-loving doofuses, and Excite had . . . nuthin'. But now, suddenly, the broadband portal's got Mr. Lucky, a thirtysomething hipster played by semi-famous skate pro Steve Olson. He's breaking big in TV spots, on phone kiosks, and on a garish, gargantuan billboard facing 4 Times Square that Condé Nasties are stuck looking at all day. Typically outfitted in a leopard-print cowboy hat and a green python-print shirt, the Luckster's supposed to convey in-control attitude. In the TV spots, he engages in Excite-enabled heroics, like dodging sand traps on a golf course after picking up a few tips at My Excite Sports: vaguely amusing stuff. In the outdoor ads, though, Mr. Lucky comes off as an insufferable prick, his cool frozen in self-satisfied mid-smirk (think Eric Roberts). There's just too much dissonance between Excite's sober, mild-mannered site and its leering, leathery Lothario. The irony is that in this narrowcast age, when nobody's idea of hip is the same, Mr. Lucky feels like an instant anachronism -- as relevant a "cool character" as dearly departed Joe Camel or Tanqueray's late Mr. Jenkins. Even before his reign started, it seems, Mr. Lucky was already running out of luck.


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