Who stares at a pool table and thinks about SUV cruise control technology? Matthew McConaughey, that's who.
The actor, who has been staring in ridiculously introspective—and flat-out weird—Lincoln ads for more than four years, is at it again. This time he uses a rolling cue ball as a muse. Propelled by a trick shot, the white ball curves around the eight ball, prompting McConaughey to flash back to a Lincoln Nautilus evading an obstacle in the road before returning to its original path. Because, of course, he would think of that.
The spot, which promotes Lincoln's "Co-Pilot360" driver-assistance technology, follows other random analogies made by Lincoln and McConaughey over the years. Once, he jumped backwards into a pool at night, which, according to the ad, is just like driving in a rainstorm.
The weirdness has worked for Lincoln, at least when judged by how much attention the frequently-spoofed campaign has received. And gaining notice is half the battle in today's cluttered marketing environment.
The new ad, called "Ultimate Control" by WPP's Hudson Rouge, begins by showing McConaughey hosting a dinner party. Later, he is alone at the pool table as his guests leave. A Lincoln spokeswoman confirmed that a trick shot artist, not McConaughey, was behind the curving cue ball.
The campaign includes a longer version for digital that extends the analogy, showing trick-shot artist Steve Markle demonstrating a variety of shots meant to illustrate braking, parking and cross-traffic alert technologies in Co-Pilot360, which comes standard on the new Lincoln Nautilus midsize SUV.
"These are all amazing technologies, but not very easy to illustrate," Jon Pearce, chief creative officer at Hudson Rouge, stated in a press release. "We were looking for a metaphor that was upscale and luxury-appropriate. We thought about billiards and how, when you're good at pool, you can make these shots that do amazing things—just like these technologies in the Lincoln Nautilus."
The director, Garth Davis, had the actors in the ad get together to cook a meal and chat about their moms as a way to capture a relaxed feeling that the ad attempts to portray, according to Lincoln.
"Technology on paper can be somewhat cold; we set out to show its warmer side—how technology can look out for you," Pearce stated.
Translating technology has become more important for automotive marketers as fancy tech takes on as much, if not more, importance for buyers than the traditional attributes plugged in ads, like speed and handling. Nissan's newest ads for its "intelligent mobility" tech leans heavily on special effects, like this spot that suggests that "the best tech can move the world."