How do you re-launch an iconic luxury flagship when you’re a warm and human brand? You look to the world’s leading portrait photographer, of course.
As the first phase of a 6-month campaign, we partnered with Annie Leibovitz to create a print and digital showcase of the new Lincoln Continental out in the world.
She approached the project as a sort of great American road trip, featuring faces that some may know, but certainly not everyone. The authenticity of the talent and the simple strength of Annie’s imagery helped to convey our launch theme of “That’s Continental,” referring to a quietly confident way of moving through the world. An attitude intended to connect with a new, younger audience for Lincoln.
As part of our “Lincoln Now” series focusing on the shared interests of both our subjects and customers, we took the Lincoln MKX on a road trip to the Pacific Northwest.
Spending time with the multi-generational oyster farmers of Little Skookum Shellfish Growers was an inspiration and an education. The passion for what they do and their love for the environment around them give films like these a wider appeal and relevance that go beyond the product we’ve featured.
What is a "global definition of beauty"? This is the question that designers of the Continental have asked since 1938.
This animation content was pushed out to specific audiences in social channels to coincide with the release of the concept version of the all-new Lincoln Continental.
We’re always looking for partners who bring a unique spirit and authenticity to the forefront. The Dap-Kings certainly met that criteria for the launch of the 2017 MKZ. Having worked with them previously as part of the Beck/Bowie “Hello, Again” digital experience, we knew they’d bring a sophisticated energy to represent the exhilaration of Lincoln’s new 400-horsepower engine. In addition to a 30-second commercial, we created a 2 ½ minute online film that features them covering the Allman Brothers’ “Midnight Rider”, and a documentary that examines how a working band who’s been out there for twenty years keeps keeps the spirit flowing. Publishing content of this kind has garnered all kinds of interest from people who might not normally gravitate to the Lincoln brand. In fact, we even inspired Rolling Stone to issue their own tweet and link to the content.
How do you introduce an exhilarating, 400-horsepower driver’s car from a brand that is better known for quiet luxury? You can’t just show it driving fast. Everybody’s seen that. We felt we needed to share the kind of feeling you get. Something words can’t really describe. Something that you’ve maybe felt before, in a place entirely different than a vehicle. Yeah, like that.
As a warm, human-oriented luxury car brand, how do you convey something as basic as a roomier third row seat? You lean into the human benefit of more space — the idea behind “Breathe”, our latest video content in our #morehuman campaign. Stunning choreography and expert performance artists actually “unfurl” themselves as three rows of seating expand to represent the roominess inside the Lincoln Navigator.
The launch of the MKX in the Fall of 2015 had us returning to Mr. McConaughey again, but this time with content directed by Gus Van Sant. And whereas the first campaign featured enigmatic monologues, these spots didn’t utter a word. We also took to heart something we learned with the previous McConaughey campaigns: consumers were hungry for more content. So, in addition to the three launch spots, we created online films on the fictional backstories of the three characters featured in two of the TV spots. Each character represents a key feature of the MKX. Further, we partnered with 3rd party experts to explain each of those three key features in ways people could relate to. All the content lives on Lincoln.com, so we are essentially guiding people down the purchase funnel, with stories that range from more allure to more information.
All the awareness raised by the McConaughey campaign attracted younger, affluent consumers who were newly ready to hear more about Lincoln. We didn’t expect them to visit Lincoln’s shopping site, Lincoln.com, and instantly buy a car, however. So we began to serve up the “best and brightest” of Lincoln ingenuity in a graphic, engaging manner to engage them further. And we wrapped it all in a mantra, “More Human”, that simply and elegantly informs people of Lincoln’s reason for being in the luxury automotive landscape. The assets here represent an evergreen, and growing, “Experience Layer” that lives on Lincoln.com, to give people substantive reasons to consider acquiring a Lincoln.
Continuing our partnership with Matthew McConaughey, we followed the widely viewed—and parodied—Lincoln MKC campaign spots with two MKZ spots in January 2015: one for the gas model and one for Hybrid. Keeping the dialogue to a minimum, we tapped into McConaughey's exceptional presence to portray a tone of reflection and anticipation. Filmmaker Nicolas Winding Refn joined us once again, adding his rich cinematic approach to these more subtle spots.
Broadcast assets were adapted and extended across digital, print, social, and experiential for a fully integrated, cross-channel campaign.
This digital brand expression was launched in February 2015 to illustrate a core philosophy of the Lincoln Motor Company: respect for individuality. In support of a Grammys media campaign, we wanted to demonstrate this idea by tying together music and the uniqueness of one’s facial characteristics. Working with some of the finest technical designers and composers out there, we were able to build a program that can transform a selfie into a one-of-a-kind song. The campaign vastly exceeded expectations in engagement, and the millions of unique songs possible are far from finished.
Lincoln signed a multiyear partnership with Oscar-winning actor Matthew McConaughey that we kicked off in social during the Emmys in 2014, and in broadcast in September 2014 with a series of spots promoting the 2015 MKC compact luxury crossover. Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn, McConaughey brought his renowned character acting to the commercials. The quietly crafted spots succeeded in creating great awareness for Lincoln, as well as inspiring multiple parodies that we playfully acknowledged in social. In addition to drawing a younger affluent customer to Lincoln dealerships, the spots are credited in helping to increase sales volume of the brand by 16% over the prior year. The campaign extended from broadcast into print, digital, social, and experiential, as an integrated cross-channel launch campaign carrying the theme of "Live In Your Moment".
As luxury marketers, we were particularly excited to help Lincoln launch their ultra-premium product offering: Lincoln Black Label. Coupled with an enhanced owner program, the Lincoln design team created four interior/exterior themes based on four unique “experiences”: Center Stage, Oasis, Modern Heritage, and Indulgence. We traveled the world to create content to illustrate those concepts to consumer audiences, in addition to building content that demonstrates the elevated approach to quality and craftsmanship that set these themes apart.
The Lincoln campaign we built for the 2013 Grammy Awards was an evolution from the Luxury Uncovered retail campaign, wherein we peeled back the layers of preconceptions and badging to get to the core of what's important to shoppers. For this cultural moment, we brought the concept to life with an interactive musical performance by Aloe Blacc and a troupe of exceptional dancers, and then peeled back the layers of how it all came together in a campaign with the theme "Music Uncovered." This digital campaign included a YouTube takeover and an interactive partnership with Interlude, where a consumer could follow four unique storylines of the same video, each from a different character’s point of view.
Using real-time targeting with social creative during the Grammys as a hook, we drove audiences into the Lincoln brand ecosystem through #MusicUncovered where we featured the interactive performance as well as stories featuring Blacc's creative process, choreographer Ryan Heffington's approach, the interactive directors' inspiration, and more. Once in the brand environment, Music Uncovered audiences were introduced to Luxury Uncovered product content, thereby closing the loop between culture, content, and commerce.
Assets from this campaign were resurfaced in social throughout the year as they became culturally relevant again and again, creating an exceptional return on investment for the brand campaign.
For the first-ever launch of the Lincoln brand in China a strategic campaign was created focusing on Lincoln’s commitment to personal service. Two brand films were created to focus attention on “The Lincoln Way” of doing business in the luxury automotive space.
One is a personal guide through the shopping and ownership experience in Lincoln’s China dealerships. The other, a more narrative journey based on a real-life customer experience entitled “Lincoln Anniversary.”
We've partnered with Vimeo two years in a row, in support of the Lincoln Motor Company campaigns. In 2013 we worked with Vimeo to create content that emphasized the symbolism behind the brand's relaunch campaign: Hello Again. We asked a shortlist of four filmmakers to reimagine something old and familiar in a new way, and each came back with a beautiful and unique concept that allowed us to convey the brand message in an authentic and compelling format across digital and social channels. In 2014 we went back to the Vimeo community to develop films in support of the Lincoln MKC launch campaign, Live In Your Moment, wherein we asked three filmmakers to work with us in building stories that illustrated a core benefit the MKC was crafted to provide: the power of being fully present "in the moment." Unlike the 2013 films, the 2014 films included product placement, and we worked with the filmmakers to make this as subtle and authentic as possible, to appeal to their audiences as much as the brand's.
In addition to the films themselves, we developed long-form content on the inspiration of each filmmaker, and assets to extend the stories across social channels, where we've experienced well above-benchmark engagement rates.
For the reveal of the 2016 Lincoln MKX, a product reveal site was created on an innovative new platform for the brand.
As Lincoln set out to reimagine itself, we needed to reach a new audience — one for whom Lincoln had no relevance. We developed a series of cultural reimaginings under the theme "Hello, Again," and this was the kick off, featuring musician Beck… reimagining David Bowie’s “Sound and Vision.”
“Hello, Again” was an overarching campaign of content and experiences created for the re-launch of the Lincoln Motor Company. The content, ads, and real world experiences asked viewers to say “Hello, again” to classics in a fresh new way. This included a film that looked back at Lincoln’s past glory and introduced the new vision for the brand.
A country-wide tour was created allowing visitors to take test drives through each city, offering a new perspective of how the city had re-invented itself.
Additional content was created around the Hello, Again campaign, including the musician Beck, re-imagining David Bowie’s “Sound and Vision.”
For the first time Lincoln became the official vehicle sponsor of the Tribeca Film Festival. A worldwide competition was created allowing participants to create interactive music videos for artists: Ellie Goulding, Damon Albarn, and Aloe Blacc. Winners were flown to New York for the festival and to attend a concert with Damon Albarn took place at the Highline Ballroom.
The new MKC and Navigator were on view at the film festival. Visitors were able to create animated GIFs of themselves driving the MKC, and the Navigator pulled up with a “Fun in Tow” arcade.
A private VIP event was held at the Crosby Hotel featuring a live performance by Aloe Blacc.
Admiration for artistry. Respect for individuality. Warm, human, and personal. As we work to change perceptions of Lincoln, these are unique brand traits that we aim to demonstrate on the Lincoln Instagram feed. Through a variety of lifestyle and product photography, numerous collaborations and a consistent aesthetic approach, a sense of the Lincoln dream comes together on this feed. This account has one of the highest brand engagement rates on the platform.
In partnership with TEDtalks, we sought to extend the Hello, Again relaunch campaign to audiences who share a passion for thought leadership. In 2013, we worked with TED to identify three unique artists, each of whom were taking a very original approach to their work through the not-so-simple act of reimagining.
Heritage and culture can be tricky topics to navigate for a legacy brand aiming to change audience perceptions. Through Tumblr, we have worked to carefully extend stories in these two topics for the Lincoln Motor Company.
The Heritage channel features a weekly dose of retro car porn for the classic Lincoln enthusiasts, while the Lincoln Now channel uncovers stories on product and lifestyle through a very Tumblr-esque perspective. Snackable brand content in the form of short films, photo essays, quotes, sketches, and – naturally – GIFs make their way onto this site to extend campaign content to the aspirational audience, content collectors, and the creative elite.
We earned bragging rights when David Karp declared the Lincoln Motor Company one of a handful of brands that “gets it.” Thanks, David.
As luxury marketers, we were particularly excited to help Lincoln launch their ultra-premium product offering: Lincoln Black Label. Coupled with an elevated owner program, the Lincoln design team created four interior/exterior themes based on four unique experiences or feelings: Center Stage, Oasis, Modern Heritage, and Indulgence. We traveled the world to create content to illustrate those concepts to consumer audiences, in addition to building content that demonstrates the elevated approach to service, quality and craftsmanship that set this offering apart.
Relying on past notions of Lincoln vehicles wasn’t going to help us reach a new, younger affluent consumer. So we created a campaign that would help discerning shoppers peel back the façade of luxury vehicles to discover some surprising truths about the new Lincoln lineup.
We then extended this campaign to lifestyle audiences with integrated content extensions that brought audiences into the rich information focused around several passion points through MusicUncovered, FilmUncovered, and IdeasUncovered. Audience reach for the sales campaign extended exponentially.
Rather than introduce a new tagline for Lincoln before the evidence of an all-new lineup had materialized, we decided to change the name of the company instead. Actually, we reverted to the original name of the company at its inception, in an effort to message a re-dedication to its original ideals. The Lincoln Motor Company not only resonated with consumers and the press, but to the critically important internal audience at the company itself. We used the all-new MKZ to evidence the new focus of the company.
This series of content showcased “Makers” who exhibit a similar attention to detail, craft, and personalization as the makers at the new Lincoln Motor Company.
One note on the Hudson Whiskey makers: we developed an incentive for people purchasing a new Lincoln that involved several fine whiskeys and your own charred cask, with which you could blend your very own concoction. As a testament to how popular this proved, people overwhelmingly chose the “whiskey option” over a $750 cash-back deal at the dealership.
Finding a consistent and ownable look, feel and tone is always a goal of ours. We approached the full-line asset shoot of Lincoln vehicles with an eye to modern simplicity, and a wry, human touch.
The designers of the Lincoln MKZ used numerous cues from nature for inspiration. This direct mail piece brought this to life, including signed sketches from the lead designer.
A key case study from 2014 included the Aloe Blacc interactive music video.
A highlight reel of the first year of Hudson Rouge. And key case studies from 2013, including the Hello, Again campaign, and the Luxury Uncovered campaign.