For those of you who watch television regularly, you may have come across a new commercial from Lincoln. So far apparently limited to the US market, it is named “How to say Hello, again” and intends to reintroduce the public with the history of the brand. It is also part of a larger marketing campaign called, appropriately, “Hello, again” which uses social media to feature urban culture and artists in order to target a younger, more fashionable crowd than what Lincoln has usually been associated with. This media push follows on the heels of the rather successful campaign to introduce the Lincoln Motor Company and the “Phoenix” commercial that revealed the MKZ to the American public during SuperBowl XLVII.
First off, if you haven’t already, watch the commercial in question by clicking the following link:
As far as the message is concerned, it follows the elements laid out in the commercial called “Introducing the Lincoln Motor Company”, that is to say linking past iconic vehicles of the brand such as the Continentals with its new vehicles by making a parallel between the intricate craftsmanship of yore and the intricate technology of today, all wrapped in the idea that a luxury car should be made for an individual rather than the mass market. On that point, that is exactly what Lincoln is about.
Visually, it mixes very colourful, artsy, pop-art like animations featuring classic Lincolns and elements of vintage advertising with very modern views of the 2015 MKZ, Navigator and MKC which show the vehicles in clean, clear environments and play on the intricacy of their signature head and tail lamps. Again, it mirrors the message that although the idea of sophistication may have shifted toward technology it is still very much a Lincoln staple. Again, good job!
When it comes to the soundtrack, the commercial features the song “Love is the answer” by Aloe Blacc, who broke out in mainstream media with his recent hit called “Wake me up”. Again, the song marries modern beats with classic, big band-like samples as a leitmotiv to carry the message of the commercial. It’s also particularly catchy! Listen to the whole song and discover its inspiring message and video clip in the following link:
What’s very interesting with this commercial, which seems to receive very positive reviews online, is the approach it takes to the “Hello, again” idea. Now, there is a much larger media plan behind that on Facebook, Instagram, etc. but for the mainstream public this commercial will be the first time they hear of that Lincoln tag line. And it may remind them of another, similar idea that proved immensely successful around fifteen (!) years ago.
Yes, the tag line supporting the initial launch of the original iMac was “hello (again)”, which worked hand in hand with the company’s acclaimed “Think Different” campaign. Now, the context was a little bit different, and the image above aimed to trigger a memory of the advertising campaign for the original Macintosh computer of 1984:
Still, the similarities between the two campaigns are quite striking. In 1997, when Steve Jobs came back to Apple, the company was embattled and faced increasing pressure from the PC world, just as the Internet boom introduced even more people to home computing – also, its opening to third-party makes of Apple “clones” had been a bittersweet episode as much lower prices took away some of the cachet Apple enjoyed as a niche manufacturer. One could say that Lincoln is facing pressure after the financial crisis and near-implosion of the US auto industry, and as many years of selling clones of Ford vehicles have hurt its standing with the American press and public. Since we’re on the subject, the arising of Alan Mullaly’s team could very well be the Ford Motor Company’s equivalent to the come-back of Steve Jobs.
Consequently, the “Hello, again” motto makes sense in both cases. It asks the consumer to forget the forgettable episodes of the company’s product history and remember instead the memorable moments it has enjoyed in the past or sees as moments that defined the whole industry. As the Macintosh all-in-one home computer was a breakthrough in terms of how the public perceived the computer (even though it remained an exclusive piece of electronics), the Continentals featured in our commercial pretty much created and always redefined the personal luxury coupe market, and became Lincoln’s halo nameplate.
As such, the 1998 iMac was the 2015 Lincoln line-up: it is what you remember and like about the brand, it is the essence of the message of the brand, but wrapped in whole new sheetmetal and up-to-par with the standards of our day. The iMac harnessed the Internet boom – the 2015 Lincolns harness hybridation (the MKZ being the only luxury hybrid in its class), the crossover boom (with the MKC and soon the MKX) and individuality (with the upcoming Black Label trim levels).
Finally, the commercial introduces a figure which can be of great help if used correctly, or detrimental if used a little too quickly : that of Edsel Ford. Like it or not, his first name is associated with one of the biggest blunders of product planning in the history of the Ford Motor Company. Still, he was the champion of the Lincoln brand and of the first Continental, and is the man with the vision here.
In the commercial, he’s quoted as saying “My father wanted to make the most popular cars in the world, I want to make the best cars in the world”. Quite a program, but isn’t that exactly what Lincoln’s place should be on the market? It seems that Ford excels these days at making popular standard line cars around the world. Why couldn’t Lincoln make the best cars within the Corporation, and by way of consequence on the market?
All in all, this appears to be a very interesting ad campaign, which is heavily complemented by the social media features (about food, architecture, music, etc.) but is also strong enough by itself to carry the brand’s message. I think that’s very promising for the release of the brand’s next vehicles!