Just opened the February 18 issue of Fortune and came across a full-page ad for— I’m guessing here— the new Lincoln MXZ. (That’s the sedan, for those of us who don’t memorize alphanumeric codes for a living.) It’s a lazy photo. The f-stop parked the car on the first clean grass he came to, in front of an ugly, anonymous suspension bridge. A young blonde in a sports bra and shorts stands in front of the car. She’s plain-faced and athletic. The shorts make it obvious that her left leg is gone, replaced by a prosthesis and one of those boomerang-shaped carbon-fiber “feet” recently outlawed by the Olympics. Huh? The copy’s no help. “Don’t ever give up on what you believe in,” it reads. “Not once. Not ever. My dream is to do extraordinary things every day. Life’s calling. Where to next?” I’m supposed to buy a Lincoln because she’s tough? I admire Sarah Reinertsen's guts and beauty. But at the risk of being labeled a unreconstructed bipedalist (literally), I'm afraid it's not an image I’m tough enough to look at for a long period of time. And anyway, the car is half-obscured. You have to wonder who conceived this ad, what kind of websites they frequent and which Ford exec approved it. Message to same: it's about the car, stupid.
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