Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Lincoln finds its way

Back in August 2010 when I was shopping for a new car, I wrote this about whether or not I would put the Lincoln brand on my shopping list.
Doesn't quite seem to have the same mojo as Ford. Now that the company has divested itself of Volvo, Jaguar and Aston Martin they can fix this brand. Until then, OUT
Well, Ford is attempting to fix the brand, starting with a new car, the MKZ, and this new ad campaign.

Despite the challenge of trying to introduce a revamped brand with just one product, I'm inclined to like this effort.

The overall brand positioning feels right. Despite the famous Commander Cody song, Lincolns have never been drivers' cars. They're for people who need to get somewhere but aren't particularly in love with the road. The Continentals and Town Cars of the past ferried the well-heeled in relative luxury and comfort. It's pretty clear from this "introduction" Lincoln doesn't plan on straying too far from that course, only hoping to move their owners from the back seat to the front.

The spot is very well crafted. The blend of past and present feels right. Creating links between classic cars and the new features helps build a credible story (though the idea of a design inspired by the manta ray comes a little out of nowhere for me). This spot exudes quality through its writing, art direction, cinematography and editing which sets the expectation for the car's quality without ever using that over-used and impossible to define word.

Will I consider a Lincoln when I look to replace the Audi? No. The spot makes it clear that if I'm interested in a car that's designed to be tossed into corners at 20 mph over the recommended speed limit I should look elsewhere. And that's okay.

In fact, it's more than okay. It's what great advertising does. It tells me exactly who the brand is for and who it's not for. So while Audi, BMW, Lexus, Infiniti and Cadillac battle for my heart by appealing to my right foot, Lincoln will satisfy a much larger segment of the market by being something different.

It'll be interesting to see if this position is carried out through all the new products they'll be introducing over the next few years and how successful it is in the long run.

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