The Farmington Hills Facebook Page is a page created by staff members for the city of Farmington Hills, MI. In late 2010, two advertisements for the Facebook page were created with the intent of airing on SWOCC Studios' Bright House Channel 8. One of them featured the voice of Slushy the Bullfrog, while the other one featured Mutt Mackley and Gambino Penguin. The ads were aimed at drawing in more viewers to the new page, and also at trying to promote the discussion board feature.
Mackley Likes It
The ad opens with Mackley, staring at the Farmington Hills Official Website. He quips about how the site will let him "find out anything" about Farmington Hills, emphasizing how useful the main site is. However, he soon complains that the site leaves him no place to leave a comment.
Gambino (under the politically-correct alias "Penguin Dude") responds to Mackley, which startles him. Mackley demands to know why Gambino interfered with the thought process, and if Gambino might possibly know anything. Gambino responds to Mackley that all his answers can be unlocked by clicking on the Facebook icon located on the official site's front page.
After Mackley follows the instructions, Gambino instructs Mackley to click the "Like" button on Facebook to ads Farmington Hills to his list of fan pages. Mackley proceeds to navigate the site according to Gambino's instructions, eventually discovering the discussion thread feature and considering leaving a comment.
Mackley immediately proceeds to celebrate the new Facebook page, after slowly mentally processing the concept of Farmington Hills having a Facebook page. He announces: "I LIKE it!!!" while shaking himself around violently. Soon afterward, the picture dissolves into the official logo for Farmington Hills, and a jingle plays in the background:
Head for the Hillsides, of Farmington Hills!
A feminine voice flirtatiously announces: "Now on Facebook!"
Mackley leaps into the frame from stage right, demanding that the audience "LIKE IT!!!!" while the ad fades to black.
Slushy Says: "Click It Now!!!"
A static image shows the official Farmington Hills Facebook page, for six seconds straight as Paul alerts viewers of what the main site is for. Over the course of three more seconds, the screen zooms in on the Facebook icon. The icon ends up surrounded by a red circle to reinforce that it is being emphasized.
Over the course of the next three seconds, a wipe goes back to the main still that began the ad. Only this time, a frog is resting on top of the screen. That frog, speaking with Slushy's voice, orders viewers to "Click in NOW!!!"
Paul continues narrating, telling viewers that the new Facebook page is the place to "get all the scoops and leave your thoughts." A simulation shows how to start a discussion thread.
The jingle plays soon afterward, and is followed up by Slushy restating to "Click it NOW!!!"
Due to the puppets' small size, "Mackley Likes It" was shot using SWOCC's smallest camera. The "Slushy" ad was accomplished entirely with screenshots, as Paul gave his narration. This avoided the need to check out the camera more than twice, keeping it available in case more Special Events came up that needed to be captured instead.
Discussion thread simulation
To create the discussion thread simulation, various screenshots of the Farmington Hills Facebook Page were taken. They were then stitched together in a sequence allowing for a few frames for each moment, all managed in an Avid timeline. This was done so as to allow the simulation thread to be removed without creating a real thread. Since the screenshot was taken after the city had already been "Liked," there was no Like button. One had to be painted in later.
The end of "Mackley Likes It" was done with a digital chroma key effect. Some pixels do show up briefly, as it was very difficult to remove green background colors from the puppet's fringes. While the Dozerfleet founder ran the actual camera, Frank did the puppeteering for Mackley. Some direction and blocking was required, as Frank had not had any prior experience with the Mackley puppet and did not know the puppet's mannerisms. During the initial scenes of Mackley viewing Farmington Hills' official website on a Dell Inspiron 6000 laptop; the Dozerfleet founder puppeteered Mackley while Frank supervised the camera.
Both Mackley and Gambino's voices were dubbed into the footage, and a frame-by-frame study was conducted in an attempt to sync audio and video to match as best as possible. Gambino's never changing his position once in the frame made syncing a lot easier.
The script for "Mackley Likes It" was the first to introduce Farmington Hills as having its own tagline/slogan:
Head for the hillsides, of Farmington Hills!
This was accomplished by having the Dozerfleet founder in a back-end recording room sing the lyrics along with some backup. Backup consisted of Frank, Lamarr, and Paul. All singers squeezed into the recording room at once to record a "silly-sounding choir" in the absence of having a proper-alto-toned professional female singer available. A final voice filter was applied, and the city's new jingle was born.
Kat showed up briefly to record her one line: "Now, on Facebook." She was asked to sound "somewhat flirty" for the recording; and gave it her best shot.
Issues of ownership of content
As usual, Mackley was portrayed with an R. Dakin and Co. hand puppet. Gambino was portrayed with a Ty Beanie Babies Collection Waddle Penguin, the 1998 model. Slushy was not drawn as his usual 2D cartoon self, however.
Instead, he was replaced with a frog that was extracted from a Google Image Search. This is because while Mackley and Gambino are portrayed with the likeness of products made by companies that can claim trademark to the models being used, Slushy as a cartoon character is not yet an officially registered trademark to Dozerfleet Productions. Therefore, the Google frog was used so as not to forfeit trademark rights to the cartoon character's appearance to Farmington Hills' city government. As it stands, the ads themselves now belong to the city. This creates some difficulty in their use for Dozerfleet Studios self-promotion.
Issues of censorship
The original script for "Mackley Likes It" was rejected; but the overall idea of it was kept on. The script was later accepted with a few minor revisions, as Caren and Kat feared the original might be offensive to Farmington Hills locals.
Gambino's accent was changed from a "New York mugger" accent in keeping with The Godfather to a cartoonish New York "jive" accent, reminiscent of Alpha 6 from Power Rangers Turbo. The goal was to make him "a clean(er) stereotype" than he previously was. His name was changed for "Mackley Likes It" from "Gambino Penguin" to "Penguin Dude," because SWOCC staff feared that his actual name would be offensive to Sicilians and Italians living in Farmington Hills. They didn't want to upset anyone who might not want a bird named after a crime family to be promoting the city.
Mackley, however, was allowed to keep his regular voice and name; the voice of which was inspired by the character Typhus from Saban's Big Bad Beetleborgs.
In spite the hard work put into "Mackley Likes It," review staff preferred "Slushy Says" due to its simplicity and easy-to-understand narration. Both ads were eventually aired anyway.
Farmington Hills Facebook Page