Gone are the days when it was enough for a company to mash together a bunch of symptoms Pepto Bismol can treat or get a tiny, mustachioed military general to grunt out a couplet about car insurance. The next big thing in musically enhanced advertising is, apparently, releasing an entire album no one is going to listen to—and Mastercard is leading the charge.
The giant, vaguely evil corporation put out the first single from its forthcoming album Priceless (get it? like the slogan) on Tuesday. It hired Niclas Molinder, who's worked with Miley Cyrus, Lady Gaga, and Mary J. Blige, to write and produce the song—a confusingly depressing pop ballad called "Merry Go Round." Swedish artist Nadine Randle sings about a devastating breakup, seeing her ex in public and getting really sad about it, and then, uh, riding a merry go round. At some point, she describes getting "a token to my freedom again," which is ostensibly... just a Mastercard?
The song has been played about 4,000 times on YouTube so far. Many of those streams likely came from people forced to listen to "Merry Go Round" so they could blog about it, like yours truly. Others may have come from the advertising team who dreamed up this dumbass project, and the handful of suits at Mastercard who hired them. But it seems like a significant number of them came from some guy named Max Janevic, who's left 45 comments on "Merry Go Round" since it premiered on Tuesday.
"New fave song," he wrote. "Sobbing at the beauty," he wrote minutes later. "This is the one thing I’ve wanted in life," he wrote minutes after that.
This is, of course, just an elaborate troll—but that leaves me no less curious about why anyone would expend so much energy commenting on a YouTube video for a song made by a credit card company. His dedication to continuing to fire off some one-liner every few hours, and his straight-faced commitment to the bit—staggering. Who the hell is this guy? How does he have time for this? What's his endgame?
The answers, it turns out, are difficult to find. A routine Google search for him turned up nothing. There are no videos on his YouTube channel. There is no "Max Janevic" on Facebook. He has no LinkedIn.
I did find this:
But Max's DMs aren't open, and he has refused to follow me, his sole follower, back. Meanwhile, the comments keep rolling in—he's posted four of them since I began this blog—and he shows no signs of stopping. I am beginning to lose my mind.
I will not rest until I have unraveled this mystery—and if I can't manage to do that, I fear it might break me. So if you happen to see this, Max Janevic, whoever you are, please get in touch. You, and only you—to borrow a line from "Merry Go Round"—can be my ticket to freedom again.
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