A Perfect New Lincoln-Mercury Commercial

Perfectly Vacuous. Perfectly Pompous. Perfectly Pointless

By Published on .

Congratulations to Young & Rubicam, Detroit, and Lincoln-Mercury. It's not easy to make a perfect TV commercial, and they have.

Perfectly vacuous. Perfectly pompous. Perfectly pointless.

Irrelevance and puffery
The opening TV salvo in the brand's "Dreams" campaign is a sort of masterpiece of irrelevance, superficiality and puffery. Have we left anything out? Oh, yeah: It won't sell any automobiles. This extraordinary exercise in aspirational idiocy won't do a good number of things, but before we enumerate them, let's take a moment to simply admire an archetype of banality -- a succession of attractive achievers, in various stylized, exotic or fanciful settings, captured in super-slow-motion moments of wistfulness:

"My dream? To go straight to the top."
"My dream is to conquer ignorance."
"My dream: to get the corner office."
"To ditch the corner office."
"My dream is to erase illiteracy."
"My dream is to rocket to No. 1."
"My dream is to slay dragons."
"My dream is to increase laughter output by 30%."
"It takes determination."
"Commitment."
"Passion."
"Hard work."
"Fearlessness."
"An open mind."
"Courage."
"It takes guts to make a dream come true."

Hackneyed blather
Now this is where the Nike product shot is supposed to show up, or the U.S. Marine scaling a cliff or something worthy of all the hackneyed self-actualization blather. But, no, what shows up is a fleet of luxury cars. The voice-over?
Engage Garfield directly in his new blog.
Engage Garfield directly in his new blog.


"Lincoln. Reach higher."

Well, that's one way to increase laughter output by 30%. Passion, fearlessness and an open mind yielding universal literacy and/or a Navigator. For crying out loud, do these people not see how ridiculous they are, conflating lofty social goals and automotive bling? If it weren't so silly, it would be obscene.

Threadbare cliche
And, on top of all that, a threadbare cliche: a car as a badge of achievement! Such an insight! We wonder what the research budget was to divine the concept of conspicuous consumption.

In its press release, Ford and Lincoln-Mercury President Al Giombetti seemed to suggest this campaign somehow modernizes the age-old idea of car as rolling announcement of how much money you have. "Lincoln," he's quoted as saying, "will use the 'Dreams' platform to speak to people achieving success on their own terms."

Uh-huh-so long as, upon conquering ignorance, your terms include a new Continental. It is mind-boggling, in this day and age, with a marketing revolution in progress, that anybody would be so backward as to sling this bullshit. More remarkable still, the commercial is so busy being cinematic and ethereal, it doesn't even give you much of a look at the cars-much less an opportunity to fall in love with them. If you're going to regress to the oldest advertising tropes, the very least you can do is show the goods.

That's why this "anthem" won't sell any automobiles, or generate showroom traffic, or inspire anyone to do anything -- unless possibly to dismiss Lincoln as a pitiful throwback.

Or just the product of a bad dream.

~ ~ ~
Review: 0.5 star
Ad: Lincoln-Mercury
Agency: Young & Rubicam
Location: Detroit
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