By on April 18, 2013

I do a lot of traveling (to such exotic places as Kershaw, South Carolina and South Haven, Michigan) in my travels with the 24 Hours of LeMons, which means I have plenty of dead time in airports to contemplate puzzling car ads. The Economist is the best possible magazine to have on hand when you get hit by a six-hour weather delay at George Bush International, because of its incredible bang-for-buck density. It’s clear that marketing flacks take the Economist‘s word for it when they talk about readership demographics, because the split between self-proclaimed readership (powerful and influential globe-trotting executives) and actual readership (geeked-out history/politics junkies with unkempt beards and Dead Kennedys T-shirts) makes for some entertaining car advertisements. Here’s one for the ’13 Lincoln MKZ, which attempts to woo the 72-year-old owner of a 6-store dry-cleaning chain into feeling that the purchase of an MKZ will transform him into a focus-group-perfect 42-year-old entrepreneur. Let’s take a closer look at what Lincoln’s marketers picture as the idealized MKZ buyer.
“Like individuals, no two journeys are alike.” In fact, every one of the ten men pictured in this ad is the exact same guy: the mid-level manager who uses PowerPoint to make minutes drag on like geological epochs. He’s not The Man, but— in the world created by Ford’s marketers— The Man drives a Lincoln instead of one of those foreign jobs.
So, 30 years after Gates, Jobs, and Wozniak changed The Man’s dress code from oligarchic suits to not-quite-one-of-the-guys nerdwear, we’ve got the double disconnect of a car being pitched in a publication read by a demographic that mostly ignores Detroit cars, using what appear to be computer-generated images straight out of the notes gleaned from a focus group comprised of hyper-optimistic Las Vegas realtors.Of course, this got me to thinking about the only MKZ owner I’ve ever known, who actually is a 40-something business executive. In 2006, I was working as a tech writer at a software startup in California, and the founder (a super-geeked-out physics PhD with a Prius) decided he’d better hire what the investors call “adult supervision,” a genuine suit who could convince everyone that we were serious. This guy parked his brand-new MKZ between my battered P71 Crown Vic and the QA guy’s hooptie Porsche 924, and it became clear that he’d traded in his Lexus GS for the Lincoln because he’d believed the car writers when they broke out their “DETROIT IS BACK!” rubberstamps upon attending the no-doubt-luxurious MKZ launch, and he really wanted to buy American. He didn’t look much like the guys in the Economist ad, and he was more a low-drama administrator than the risk-taking maverick envisioned by those Vegas realtors, but at least he was the right age. He was disappointed by the MKZ— I can’t recall exactly why— but he was determined to give his Lincoln a chance. In my opinion, Ford’s marketers would be better off going with a focus group made up entirely of hair-transplanted strip-club owners from suburban Bakersfield; go for the semi-penumbral-economy bad boys!

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104 Comments on “Adventures In Marketing: Observe the Edgy and Rebellious Lincoln MKZ Buyers!...”


  • avatar
    ash78

    OK, stop me if you’ve heard this one: Elvis Costello, Tobey Macguire, and MC Frontalot walk into a magazine ad…

    • 0 avatar
      darkwing

      Aww…I kinda feel bad for poor old Front. But if that’s how they want me to buy a Lincoln, they should show me Adam Warrock and Random. (Or a tricked-out Dual Core edition.)

  • avatar
    cwallace

    The car of the “42 year old urban-dwelling businessman” is whatever the car service sends over for the ride to the airport.

    This is the car of the “60 some-odd insurance salesman”, box of doughnuts with a business card taped to the top in the passenger seat, strip club valet stubs and half a pack of Newports in the door pocket not included.

    That’s how my father in law uses his MKZ, anyway.

    • 0 avatar
      W.Minter

      You’re so right …
      Some basic Ad Basic:
      if target group = 62 years
      then print headline = 42 years

      • 0 avatar
        SomeGuy

        So I wonder how Scion feels when:

        Advertises to 18-25 year olds
        Bought by 35-45+ year olds

        • 0 avatar
          darkwing

          Aren’t their buyers closer to 55-65+? Parents buying cars for their kids, and old farts who want cheap transportation.

          The marketing demographics look terrible, but in some sense, it’s the best of both worlds — your drivers are young and hip(-ish); your borrowers pay on time.

  • avatar
    Ion

    I liked the one with the redheads better.

  • avatar
    thornmark

    Seems Ford has historically done much better at marketing than product execution. The Falcon, Maverick, Pinto, Granada and Fairmont were all great marketing successes that were inferior products. Maybe that magic is wearing off as their spin on “Ecoboost” has met a harsher reality that advertising may not be able to undo.

    Generally unremarked on this site is Ford’s unusual reliance on fleet sales, now almost 1/3 of total sales and growing faster than retail sales. If Ford has such great products, why the retail disconnect?
    http://www.autonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20130415/RETAIL01/304159986/hyundai-kia-raises-fleet-sales-as-retail-sales-slide#axzz2QXEodJFv

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      Ford will now be put to the real test, as aggregate demand for passenger cars contracts not only in the EU and the BRICs (India is looking to be in rough shape and China is beginning to roll over), but arguably in N America once again, and if Hyundai/Kia are increasing fleet sales aggressively, it’s yet another indication that a whole lot of pent up demand was pulled forward in the last 3 years, and that the consumer is under increasingly heavy stress.

      Ford’s “world car” premium pricing strategy is about to face its moment of truth, where they’ll have to either significantly ramp up incentives in an attempt to try and support manufacturing utilization, or they’ll have to decrease production to try and support transaction prices.

      When the dust settles, they probably will actually have to do both of these things given the macro picture.

    • 0 avatar
      Featherston

      “The Falcon, Maverick, Pinto, Granada and Fairmont were all great marketing successes that were inferior products.”

      I disagree with your inclusion of the the Falcon on that list. The Falcon’s defining characteristic was efficiency, not image.

      http://ateupwithmotor.com/compact-and-economy-cars/128-american-ford-falcon-history.html

      Perhaps an older reader can comment on the relative merits of the Falcon, American, Valiant, and Corvair circa 1961.

      • 0 avatar
        thornmark

        The Valiant was superior to the Falcon is just about every respect, it was much faster, handled better and got better economy. It was unibody and had the famous “slant six” and torqueflite. The styling was off-putting to some, although it won European design awards.

        The Falcon sold like crazy but was just a downsized large car w/ an old inefficient six. The Maverick and original “Mercedes” Granada were Falcons with different bodies, like the original Mustang.
        http://www.valiant.org/plymouth/valiant-1960.html

        • 0 avatar
          monomille

          The Fairmont might have had the “new design” Fox body but it still had an “old inefficient six” – all 88 hp of it – great rustproofing though.

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          The Falcon 6 was all new and designed just for the Falcon and its mate the Comet. It got better MPG than the slant 6 which was designed for large cars and why it was faster despite being in a heavier vehicle. The Falcon was a new from the ground up unibody design sharing nothing of the major mechanical nature with the full size cars.

          • 0 avatar
            Featherston

            @ Scoutdude – Thank you.

            I probably should’ve specified, “Perhaps a *knowledgeable* older reader can comment . . . .”

      • 0 avatar
        Windy

        my roommate in engineering school in the 60s had a john Fitch(RIP)Corvair and it was one of the best sports cars of the period. If Nader had not killed the Corvair I think Fitch Could have turned into the American Porsche with another year or 2 of development it was that good

  • avatar

    My 43-year-old sister has one of these, and she loves it.

    Yeah, she runs her own software business, but she did buy it used (and got a pretty good deal on it).

    Really, what’s not to love about a Mondeo with a nice interior, no matter how they market it?

  • avatar
    Summicron

    Maybe if the MKZ came with embassy Marines and chauffeurs like that old one did….

  • avatar
    Windy

    is it just me or is that add for a mid 60s Continental a major reenforcement of how much better the early 60s Lincoln offerings were when compared to what they sell today

    • 0 avatar
      Summicron

      Agreed, can’t see Oliver Wendell Douglas buying an MKZ.

      Mr. Haney,… maybe.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      Instead of use of this old add suggesting some sort of romantic prestigious past steeped in tradition, it backfires and becomes a glaring reminder of what happens to a respected brand when it’s neglected for so long.

      • 0 avatar
        Summicron

        So painfully true. Including it in that ad layout was pure blunder since it so powerfully contrasts in every way with the amorphous blobs made today. Anyone impressed by the majesty of that old beast will be alienated from the new ones, and for those unimpressed it’s merely wasted space.

  • avatar
    cargogh

    Good read, Murilee.
    I wish Lincoln could just re-issue the 1961 built out of aluminum and carbon and be done with it.
    The only MKZ I’ve ever ridden in belongs to a friend’s dad who must be around 72, but he was driving a semi last I heard.
    That was last year so my friend probably owns it by now. He’s always wrecked or had repossessed every vehicle he’s owned. This goes back to 1980 when we went cleared out 400′ of overgrown ditch in his gleaming brand new blue Z-28 to chase down an opossum. He hates them. Or ’82 when I found his new Nissan (or was it still Datsun?) totalled against a fence on my way home from town. Then he takes over his parent’s vehicles. In the old days, he would whine about it not being his style. In no time he’d have a pristine Thunderbird, Town and Country, or Mark V ragged out to his specs. We’ve known each other since first grade, and both turned 50 this week. He could be described as a cross between number 2 and 3 top row, but the 3-wheeler, 4-wheeler, Harley, and pickup wrecks along with 35 years of non-stop Budweiser and lortab intake have left him a little scarred and mummified.
    I agree. The marketers have missed the mark.

  • avatar
    dswilly

    Until Detroit figures out how to hide molding flash and part lines on their interior plastic, regardless of brand, category, or price, I’ll shop elsewhere.

  • avatar
    1998redwagon

    is it me or do the 10 pictures and the phrasing, “Introducing the car for the 42-year-old urban dwelling businessman” just drop every woman out there?

    perhaps all women would not be interested in this car – doubt it. but i would bet that at least 8 of those men are at least interested in looking at a woman who is easy on the eyes.

    poor ad execution in my estimation.

    i wonder what the gender split is on this vehicle and what lincoln wants it to be.

    • 0 avatar

      If the ad said, “Introducing the car for the 42-year-old urban dwelling businesswoman” and featured only women, would it have bothered you as much?

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        The point is that they’re failing to appeal to roughly half of the car buying public either way.

        Political correctness (and other rough rules of thumb about how not to act like a jerk) had nothing to do with it. This one is all about kissing up to the customer – and women buy a lot of the cars, and strongly influence the purchases of many men who buy cars.

        Its the same reason mixing politics and advertising is a bad idea. Mass market business can’t afford to alienate half of the potential customers who can pay the bill. Just ask Dan Cathy how that one worked out for him…

    • 0 avatar
      corntrollio

      My impression was that the curated Tweet ad covered the women.

    • 0 avatar
      vanwestcoaster

      I agree – not from a politically correct POV, but from a marketing one – the “car-buying smart set” Ford/Lincoln is wishing and hoping to capture with this pseudo-luxe-sport(y-ish) sedan absolutely includes women.

      Maybe an all-gal MKZ ad for Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar? Could be, but why not join the 70s and produce a unisex ad aimed at ersatz “affluencers”?

      Or even better, why not a new version of the Lincoln LS “Espresso” TV ad?
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3hxUtqM6QFM

      • 0 avatar
        Ion

        There are a few uinsex versions of this ad, I saw one featuring redheads in vanity fare.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        There are no women in the ads for a very obvious yet totally un-PC reason. No car wants to be labeled a “chic car” that’s the kiss of death to the male buying public. No guy wants to bring his new car to the office only to hear somebodies mother or sister has one just like it… Hey, I don’t make the rules

        • 0 avatar
          Luke42

          Depends on what kind of a guy you are.

          I’m confident enough that I don’t care about the “chic car” thing. I did when I was a teenager who wasn’t having any sex. But now I’m a married dad and I frankly have bigger things on my mind than to worry about whether a car is a “chic car”.

          I’m also in the demographic that Lincoln says its courting. Working an an engineer for a Fortune 500 company. Will have a six figure income this year. Will have an MBA NY the end of the year. Mid 30s. I’m also not particularly interested in spending $50k to tell everyone this – I’m far more comfortable (socially, financially, physically) in my used minivan.

          Maybe you’re right that the people who would spend luxury car money to look a certain way *would* care about “chic car”. But a turn through any business-school propaganda shows how to make photogenic men and women look happy, vital, successful, and occasionally entrepreneurial. Maybe Lincoln’s advertising people could parody that a bit – add some tattoos, pink hair, and other irreverent/creative trademarks to the business school iconography. Not saying I’d buy it, but it would communicate what they’re trying to communicate better, and to the crowd they’re trying to reach.

          And, yes, my business school professors recommended the economist as good reading.

          • 0 avatar
            Luke42

            Oh, and if Lincoln does want to sell me one of those things, the competition is not BMW or Mercedes. The competition is a 2004 Toyota Sienna/Prius and the NPV of about $35k.

            If they can compete with the used cars in my driveway (as well as the Volt, C-Max, Leaf, and Prius), they can expand the market – rather than fighting with the Germans over customers who want you to think they’re part of the 1%.

            I’m not holding my breath, though. I’m too busy working my ass off and raising family to give it much thought after I close this article.

    • 0 avatar
      azmtbkr81

      I suspect the split slants heavily in favor of men. Successful 42 year old business women buy Lexus and BMW CUVs almost exclusively and would have little interest in a Lincoln, especially a Lincoln car.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        Why wouldn’t male luxury car buyers be buying Lexi and BMWs, too?

        It seems like the competition is the same in both cases.

        Also, you’ve got to think of the culture of the buyer. Modern business culture (at least in business school and in the fortune 500 company where I work) is deliberately inclusive demographically. They don’t want to pass on insight or talent from any source, because insight and talent help you win.

        • 0 avatar
          azmtbkr81

          I agree with your point about inclusive corporate culture but I have not seen that extend to vehicle choice.

          Women are largely more homogeneous in their vehicular tastes and most that I work with or do business with own or lust after foreign CUVs – Lexus and BMW CUVs in particular. One of the marketing managers at our company drives a Cadillac CUV and she is considered quite the rebel. The men on the other hand drive anything from 5 series, to luxury cowboy Cadillac pickups, to Lotus sports cars. They are all over the map.

          • 0 avatar
            Luke42

            My crowd is quite different. The average income at my office is right around $100k,and the parking lot is full of new camcords and well kept entheusiast rides from various eras. One lady drives an Escalade, and also dresses better than the rest of us too. I’m not sure why, but my guess is that she likes to bring a little glamour to the polo shirted engineer set. She’s a solid senior member of the team, and I guess everyone needs a hobby!

            There are some BMWs, Porches, and cowboy cadillacs in the parking lot, but I think they belong mostly to the people who work for the tractor company next door. They’re “the other”, even though they’re quite nice in the lobby.

            The closest BMW in my circle is my father in law’s a Z3. His neighbors (in in an upscale neighborhood in Atlanta) drive the kind of cars you mention. Also, Jeep Grand Cherokee mall crawlers are overrepresented. You can always tell when the grandkids are in town, because the car-mix changes dramatically.

            The crowd I’m running with these days is successful (software engineers, MBAs, PHDs) and more affluent than not. But, except for the Escalade lady, we’re not much for the appearance of wealth. The foreign CUVs of choice is the RAV4 and the CRV. Civics, Prii, and camcords are common.

            It could be a generational thing, a Midwestern thing, an engineer thing, or a college town thing. Donno, but it works for me. The letters after your name and your CV matter more than what you drive here, I think.

            I mostly wanted to point out that your experience may not be typical. Or maybe it is, and mine is atypical. I suppose we need a bigger sample size.

            P.S. I’d love to drive something interesting, but the Prius is the most amount of engineering-interesting per dollar you can buy. The Tesla Model S is probably the next best – it’s at least twice as interesting, but costs 3-4x more than a Prius.

  • avatar
    Battles

    Are these all guys we’re supposed to know or have heard of?
    Red Jacket+ Black Specs guy is a (very good) film maker.
    Did some great work for Nike and now doing some cool stuff for Mercedes-Benz promoting the CLA.
    I definitely recognise one of the other guys.

  • avatar
    mechimike

    Murilee, only you would appreciate the value of “The Economist” at the airport like I would. It’s been my go-to news stand purchase at concourses nationwide for at least the past 10 years now. You know, so I can engage in thoughtful-sounding discourse during late-night LeMons race campfire banter sessions about Nicolas Sarkozy and Hosni Mubarak.

  • avatar
    fredtal

    No pictures of old hippy looking dudes so I guess I’m not Lincoln demographic.

  • avatar
    ToxicSludge

    I didn’t know lincoln was still around,but I did see a mercury yesterday.Same thing,right ;}>

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    Maybe they could get this 42 year old rural-dwelling businessman to take up their cause.

    Go to the 8:15 mark…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c5AoeK1Pilc

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      I can’t find it on the interwebz, but one of the worst ads I’ve seen is the one of the bespectacled 58ish year old who is shown driving an MKtaurus, and Lincoln is absolutely hammering upon the technology theme throughout it.

      The guy looks like an American version of Dieter from Sprockets, a walking anal retention retaining an iGadget between his ass cheeks.

      It’s as if someone at the ad agency had just seen the Acura TL technology ad, and came into work the next morning gung-ho to do their best to essentially copy it, only using an older white & nerdy guy, using a much worse theme & tagline, and with no mention of locating the nearest sushi joint.

  • avatar
    jerseydevil

    Ha, I read the Ecomomist in the docs office, those are pretty funny comments. It is dense, tho, I agree, I’m almost never through an article before I’m called in, but its good stuff, an almost hypnotic read.

    As to Lincoln, I cannot imagine this ad. I’m not even sure if this is the big lincoln or the littler one. In any event, as an urban business person, I have a VW Golf cause its quick in the city and easy to park. The lincoln would be more like overpacking for a business trip.

    Having said that, we do share a few Caddys as work cars, if we need to haul around portly investors. Maybe this is what they are after? I dunno.

  • avatar
    wsn

    Spot on.

    I didn’t pay too much attention to Lincoln. But now thinking about it, the only Lincoln driver I know of IS a Realtor! Indian lady in her 50s. The car is a Navigator.

  • avatar
    mknj

    My 38 year old wife drives and MKZ and, while it may not be the world’s greatest car, it serves her needs well. We are not “enthusiasts” or “car people”, a car is a means of transportation for us. She felt like she earned something a bit more upscale and started from there. German cars were off the table due to the way the Germans treated her family 70 years ago. She doesn’t like Infiniti, Acuras were too much like her old Honda and the only Lexus in our range was the IS250 which was too small.

    There may be other options, better ones too, but the MKZ hit every target on her checklist. She’s very happy with it and that is really all that counts.

    • 0 avatar
      olddavid

      Amen. You’re the target that they need to hit. But, I think the point here is that you could have purchased the equivalent Ford, waited six months and 5k miles, and the subsequent result would be the same. We of the gearhead genus forget that real-world people are making a serious financial decision. I’m curious as to what originally made you even think of Lincoln? Did you see one you admired? Or did an advertisement catch your eye? Or is it an institutional thing that you folks grew up with – a respect for the upgrade a Lincoln represents? Thanks

      • 0 avatar
        mknj

        @olddavid…It started out by just thinking it was a nice looking car. Everyone will disagree, but, we both think the grill looks great. So, thats how the car got on our radar. Beyond that, people don’t always make money decisions based entirely on financial factors, in any situation. We saw a loaded Fusion in the same showroom, which I preferred, and it would have been a bit cheaper, but the price on the Lincoln was in our range and she simply preferred it based on looks and her opinion of the brand.

        • 0 avatar
          olddavid

          I always appreciate the input.We’re a hard species to figure out, yes?

        • 0 avatar
          Dave M.

          mknj – I think the recent last gen MKZ was great looking as well. If it was within a stone’s throw of a loaded Fusion, why not?

          More importantly, your wife is happy. Win-win.

          Remember the ES is a stone’s throw for a loaded out Camry…

  • avatar
    ash78

    This is really pretty bad. You might use the specific demographic in the initial creative meetings, and when developing the target language, but to spell it out like that in an ad is just going to alienate people.

    First off, 42, male and urban-dwelling just is just a tiny niche. Most 42-year-olds would have long since moved to a first-tier suburb by now, which also would make sense for owning something like a Lincoln (or owning a car at all!).

    My best guess is that it’s a confused, aspirational ad. The 42-year-old has a couple of ill-behaved teenage kids, commutes at least half an hour each way into a city center every day, but goes to lunch in the hipster district every day and feels he’s part of some urban revitalization effort through his $7 daily sandwich patronage. He knows he’s well past the stage in life to move back into a loft and have an A/V studio in the back room, but he can dream. And his dreams are what define him, for better or worse.

    So today, he’s an urban-dwelling businessman.

    • 0 avatar
      mechimike

      As long as he spends that $7 at a locally-owned mom and pop sandwich stop, and not at one of the damn Subways that are so ubiquitous in urban centers nowadays.

      • 0 avatar
        darkwing

        The Subways around here are almost always owned and operated by a single family, usually an immigrant family from India or Central Asia. I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather give them my money than the sullen hipsters at the $10 “artisinal” shop down the block.

        • 0 avatar
          mechimike

          I disagree, for two reasons:

          -Subway false advertises. There is no way a Subway sandwich is “healthy”; in fact, there was a recent accident of a truck carrying subway bread dough (you know, the stuff that’s supposedly “made fresh” at your local store) and the hazmat squad had to be called due to a certain ingredient in the bread that’s essentially fertilizer.

          -I hate the homogenization of America. Everywhere there’s the same old stuff- a Motel 6, a Subway, a Starbucks, and a Home Depot. Much like in nature, there is value in diversity in business. When I travel, I don’t take comfort that I can get my Subway 6″ Italian B.M.T. anywhere in America. I actively try to seek out local fare, even if it’s just Mack’s Sub Shop. I know Mack didn’t have to buy a franchise license and even if his subs aren’t health food, at least he;s honest about what he’s selling.

    • 0 avatar
      Chicago Dude

      “First off, 42, male and urban-dwelling just is just a tiny niche”

      Except that it’s a fast growing niche that nobody else is targeting. Look at the demographics of people who can actually afford to buy new cars. Urban living is where it’s going.

      And at 42 years old, very few of them will have teenage kids. More like 7-10 years old.

    • 0 avatar
      gessvt

      add “…and still has one single, urban dwelling friend toying with the idea of marriage. Why? He’s getting seriously tired of the hipster neighbors’ 3 a.m. “after hours gatherings” and finding a shattered window and missing coffee cup in his MKZ every few weeks.”

    • 0 avatar
      Reino

      $7 sandwich? When was the last time you had lunch in a hipster district? They’re at least $9 now.

  • avatar

    Where’s “beta male”

  • avatar

    The blew it when they decided to nix ZEPHYR in favor of meaningless letter trios…following Cadillac (and Acura?) again.

  • avatar
    Tomifobia

    Two things:

    1) If you put a sheet of black paper behind something thin (like a magazine page) it will prevent the other side from bleeding through.

    2) The guy in the red jacket most likely spent every day of his life from grades 1 through 12 getting beaten up for his lunch money.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    If their products had more credibility, their marketing wouldn’t need to be so panderous.

  • avatar
    WaftableTorque

    As a 41 year old urban business entrepreneur (albeit Chinese), I must admit I have been looking at the MKZ. I do find the design distinctive in a good way, and the availability of the hybrid is a plus.

    But I was thinking about what auto advertising draws me, and I have a small list of what pushes my buttons when looking at a luxury car.
    1) A middle age career man (preferably Asian) wearing a suit, a crisp white dress shirt with no tie, driving or in close proximity to the car. If I’m looking for a performance sedan, bonus points for a man wearing a blazer, dress shirt, and jeans.
    2) The car is shot in downtown or uptown.
    3) Absolutely no children, hipsters, camping gear or sports gear to hint that its a substitute for a family car or that it’s aimed at the retired.
    4) The company website offers a downloadable PDF car brochure and doesn’t ask for your contact details before getting it.
    5) No pictures of young women driving this car. Absolutely sexist for sure, but I don’t want to drive a car targeted at my secretary.
    6) Massive bonus points if they broadcast on Fairchild TV or STBN channels.

    I saw a Acura RLX TV ad which featured a suited man pretending his car was a sport sedan. It was kinda stupid, but kept my attention because he was well dressed and I could see myself living that fantasy. But best TV ad I’ve seen recently was for a Hyundai Equus: it was a 3 second shot embedded in a 30 second Sante Fe ad. Something about their flagship eventually trickling down to their SUV’s. Effective use of advertising resources and halo car marketing.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    Any one of these chaps would look much more comfortable in a 5-Series.

  • avatar
    Firestorm 500

    Guy #9 looks like someone from “Mad Men”.

    Maybe that’s actually HIS ’62 Lincoln?

    Good taste.

  • avatar
    olddavid

    The only late-model Lincoln owner I know inherited it from their father. Nice interior, reasonable power, but whatever the premium is for the car, brand dilution is smacking you in the face every time you pass the equivalent Ford. I’m currently working on a 1974 Continental for my sister, and even then a Marquis would be almost indistinguishable from across a crowded parking lot. Too bad, because even in the depths of the so-called “malaise”, the 460 and the combo of driving and surprisingly good build quality make me appreciate a car I dismissed as irrelevant when it was new. I guess the lesson here is that Ford has been wrestling with this problem since 1970. Can we discuss Sysiphus at this point?

  • avatar
    darkwing

    Personally, I think they should have doubled down on that quasi-Mad Men thing they had going for a while. Give me the engine and drivetrain from the SHO, make the interior look like Don Draper’s desk — and for the love of Christina Hendricks, lower those damn beltlines — and then maybe John Slattery can talk me into it.

    I want to like Lincoln, I really do. I can easily be persuaded to pass up the A6 and 535i for one. But when I think I’m getting a better deal in an Acura, well, then it’s tough. (And I’m annoyed that apparently I’m supposed to wait 20 years, when I’ll aspire to be a decade younger, before they think a Lincoln will be appropriate for me.)

    • 0 avatar
      kjb911

      They should just use the cast in their ads…they advertise enough on the new season … would be funny hearing Roger’s quasi racist remarks about why you should be driving a Lincoln over an Acura or even a German Sedan

  • avatar
    olddavid

    Am I the only one who felt like I just got a call from an old friend I haven’t heard from in some time? I, personally, miss the descriptions of the time-capsule Alameda, the name origins, and wrecking-yard travails while keeping an aging B-body on the road. I guess I should be congratulatory for the LeMons success as well as the diversification involved when seeing MM on a wide variety of automotive sites.But that doesn’t mean I cannot miss the wry and caustic observations of old. Nice to hear your editorial voice, MM.

  • avatar
    Pinzgauer

    I think I avoided talking to all of those guys on the elevator this morning.

  • avatar

    “…the mid-level manager who uses PowerPoint to make minutes drag on like geological epochs.”

    Fortunately when I achieve this in my geology lectures I can claim deliberate intent.

  • avatar
    gottacook

    The available “retractable panoramic glass roof” (rendered as simply “retractable roof” in the hourly Lincoln Motor Company sponsorship announcements on the local NPR affiliate) is not going to be appreciated very much by the single guys who are evidently being targeted; I don’t think we’re supposed to assume that these are family guys, or even married.

    A big moonroof is nice, sure – I love the one in our ’06 Forester 5-speed, which is probably 10 square feet versus the MKZ’s advertised 14 – but is silly to emphasize in a car being marketed to the lone driver. How often, really, does the driver get to look up at the sky (unless he stops the car first)? Not many, even in our Forester, which has a much more upright windshield than the MKZ and a roof opening that’s farther forward.

    So much for the rebooting of the MKZ marketing effort. The roof remains a central selling point, and almost no one’s buying what they’re trying to sell.

  • avatar
    340-4

    As a 44 year old male technical professional, I kinda see what they are trying to do here.

    But after checking one of these out, I can’t determine if it’s $10,000 better than other cars out there.

    $41k plus is a lot of smack.

    • 0 avatar
      cargogh

      Pretty much everything out there is fast enough, safe and dependable. I know about 3 people that run full acceleration past 60 on a regular basis. The rest of them would be uncomfortable approaching anything close to .80 g turning. I doubt many MKZs will hit the track.
      Lincoln is offering something very stylish with some neat features. Taking in account realistic driving–styling is what is differentiating from the pack. I certainly would not think it is a waste of money if you like it and it fits in your budget. It is a much better looking choice than an Lexus ES.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        That’s not what he’s asking.

        He probably has the extra $10k, but he got there by not wasting money on things that don’t provide value.

        He’s asking to be shown $10k worth of awesome to justify spending extra cash. Your answer was just “meh, you like the car or what?”

        • 0 avatar
          cargogh

          When a Fusion can be optioned to cost more than a base MKZ, or when when imports have $2000 wheel packages and $4000 convenience groups, 10K in some instances changes very little about the vehicle. Sorry you saw my reply as “meh”.
          If much of the value and awesome reside in liking how a vehicle looks, I understand why someone would choose an MKZ.

          • 0 avatar
            Luke42

            I guess, if you’re in to that sort of thing!

            I’m totally in the demographic that Lincoln is trying to reach, but if I were going to spends $10k on appearances, it would go towards my house, then the yard, and then it would go towards professional wardrobes for myself and the missus. Car-related fashion is pretty far down my personal list….

            Even though I could pay for an MKZ if I thought it was important. But how I act at work is what matters, just so long as what I drive/wear doesn’t attract negative attention.

  • avatar
    corntrollio

    Their ad in The Economist a few months ago introducing the Lincoln Motor Company with no pictures and text-only was better. I’m not sure why they put an age on there — it should have been “for the urban-dwelling businessman” The photos say enough about the age they’re targeting without beating you over the head with it.

    A lot of other ads in The Economist are for rather high-end things, Patek Philippes and such.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    “The car for ever 42yo urban dwelling businessman”

    They are trying so hard and its just not even close. Why should I buy your $40,000 jellybean Ford? To be different? Pains me to say it but Cadillac is sort of different… you are not. Should have found a way to squeeze that beautiful ’62 Conti into what passes for a car these days.

  • avatar
    MrWhopee

    I think the reality is those kind of people in the ads had very little chance of ever even consider a Lincoln. Primarily because of the possible reaction of their peers. “You bought… what??” Hence the needs of a Lincoln halo car. The car may be competitive by itself, but the brand had about as much cachet as Studebaker. Or Packard.

  • avatar
    mpresley

    Lincoln lost their primary demographic (sixty-ish orthodontists) when they changed the grill last year. And these guys in the ads are not middle managers using Power Point, or even Excel. They are clip art. I work with well paid professionals, and when I walk around the office no one looks like these guys. Instead, the men are mostly overweight and balding. And when I walk around the lot, I see A5s, Mercs, BMWs, and a lot of Toyota Prius. Hell, due to the cheap lease, even the girls in the secretarial pool are driving 3 series.

    But no one, and I mean no one, drives an Em Kay whatever. In fact, the only guy at the office who ever owned a Lincoln had an old LS, and a couple of years ago he sold it for a Cadillac at the request of his wife.

    • 0 avatar
      oldfatandrich

      Well put, mpresley. The copy is bathetic. I am 65 (as I advertise in addition to being fat and rich) and among the ladder climbing forty somethings who work for me there is not a single person (male or female) who would in the bluest of moons even consider a Lincoln. These people drive BMWs, Audis or Lexus. (I tell them that when they are old and arthritic, they will drive a Benz like me.) Thinking back, the last person I knew who drove a Lincoln was a friend of my father. He and his friend would be 102 and 110 respectively.

  • avatar
    kjb911

    I feel like I am the only 22 year old/ person that actually likes the look of the MKZ… Granted I would rather wish they took the Ford Falcon Platform and create a nice Sedan that could be a successor of the Pontiac G8 with more Luxury…

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    Finally saw one of these on the road the other day, down here in Houston. They do look kinda nice, but they also still scream “old fart car”. Let’s face it, every one of the guys in that ad would be driving a BMW or an Audi. Or a bicycle.

    I have one friend who drives a Lincoln Zephyr. He’s a single, 48yo programmer, bought the car from his 70-something father a couple years ago for about nothing when the old man bought a new Cadillac.

  • avatar
    Spartan

    I’m 28 and could buy an MKZ right now. I probably would buy an MKZ if it had a manual transmission, AWD and some sporting intentions. However, I’m probably in the minority.

    It would be peanuts to install a manual transmission. At least it’d generate some buzz. It’s like Lincoln is intentionally trying to destroy itself.

    • 0 avatar
      corntrollio

      What do you think the take rate was for manual transmissions on the Lincoln LS V6?

      I’m not saying I disagree with you, but rather that Ford has reasons for doing what they do.

      But maybe that’s what we need — an SVT Lincoln.

  • avatar
    CelticPete

    I don’t see anything wrong with them chasing this demographic. Yes its true that most 40 something guys are going to get a BMW. But what are they supposed to do, give up? Or only go after 60 somethings?

  • avatar
    RatherhaveaBuick

    These ads are terrible. Totally misdirected advertising.

    Changing the name to Lincoln Motor Company is the stupidest marketing move they could’ve made. Regardless of how much money they must’ve put into their admittedly epic booth at the NY auto show…

    For the record, the outgoing MKS is so much nicer in every way…


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