Lincoln campaign aims to snag younger drivers

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Ford Motor Co.'s Lincoln brand kicks off the national TV portion of its new brand campaign Dec. 9 during the GQ Men of the Year awards on the Fox Network. Lincoln is "the stylish and official sponsor," says the dedicated new spot from Y&R Advertising, Irvine, Calif., with a creative assist from the agency's New York office.

The actors' strike delayed the estimated $20 million push a few months. Print ads arrived in December titles.

Y&R created two other spots that break during the broadcast. They continue on national cable and broadcast programs. Those spots portray Lincoln owners as young, upscale and active. In one, a man drives a Navigator sport utility past a golf course to join friends preparing to go kayaking. "Luxury is being in a club so exclusive, it only has four members," says the narrator.

The brand push features the LS sedan, which bowed last year, and the Navigator sport utility. Deborah Wahl, who as marketing communications director oversees Lincoln advertising, said the two vehicles have buyers averaging in their mid-50s. And roughly 60% of LS buyers defected from other car brands.

The average age of Town Car and Continental buyers is still 66 years old, she said. Those two cars will get only regional ads via dealer ad groups because buyers are concentrated in certain markets.

Susan Jacobs, president of consultancy Jacobs & Associates, isn't as optimistic Lincoln can woo young buyers. She cites unit sales by model: 70,000 Town Cars, 19,000 Continentals and 44,000 LS models through October. Lincoln is "so very much dependent on the Town Car and older buyers" who aren't likely to bring much repeat business, she said.

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