Between The Lines: Smarter Than Luxury?

Sajeev Mehta
by Sajeev Mehta
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Is going Between the Lines this time ‘round more like shooting fish in a barrel? Let’s find out with the latest ad campaign from Lincoln, as covered by the Detroit Free Press:

Ford said today it is rolling out a new ad campaign for its Lincoln brand with the tagline “Smarter than Luxury,” and starring John Slattery, who portrays Roger Sterling in the TV series “Mad Men.”

There’s an ironic element there, considering the behind-the-scenes marketing dialogue seen on the TV show. If the boffins at Lincoln chose “Smarter than Luxury” over everything else, I gotta know what they passed on. Perhaps “Lincoln: Our Stuff Looks Like Poop Dung” was already under consideration for the Lincoln Log people.

“This campaign shows that Lincoln offers a heightened sense of style, craftsmanship and technology and we’re showing that off in a new way for this brand,” Matt VanDyke, Ford’s director of U.S. marketing communications said in a statement.”

While Lincoln’s progression from nothingness to somethingness is noteworthy, it should be noted that this campaign promises nothing to show Lincoln’s heightened sense of yadda-yadda-yadda. You know what would? Giving the media a teaser of an ad that stacks Lincolns up against their competition in stylish but aloof advertisements, in a very Top Gear kinda way. Play a modern remake of Commander Cody’s Lincoln-esque hit in the background, and finish with anything but “Smarter than Luxury.” Surely that’d “heighten some senses” and show off the brand like a sonofagun.

Probably not, since I just made that up. But it still sucks less than the phrase, “Smarter than Luxury.”

“We’re going to challenge people’s perceptions of luxury and show that we deliver more technology and luxury for an unexpected amount of content for the price,” VanDyke said.

To which a recently deposed Lincoln-Mercury dealer noted, “they are already ‘challenging people’s perceptions of luxury’ by selling and servicing Lincolns next to a Ford Focus.” After informing him that Lincoln is coming out with a small car based on said Ford, the Lincoln-Mercury dealer’s head exploded.

The launch of a print ad campaign will coincide with the TV ads…designed to evoke emotion and challenge customer perceptions of luxury.

That sounds rather challenging, if they use the phrase “Smarter than Luxury” in print.

The TV ads will feature the latest Lincoln vehicles, the 2011 Lincoln MKX crossover and the 2011 MKZ Hybrid sedan, along with Slattery.

In all seriousness, if Lincoln refrains from offering a great lease in this ad campaign, avoiding the endless cycle of incentive promotion and breaking rank with Cadillac to instead promote the product (a la BMW and others), this campaign will be a success. That is when we shall know that Lincoln is, well, Smarter than Luxury.

PS: When this was posted, the presentation for the “Smarter Than Luxury” campaign by the Action Marketing Group could be downloaded here. The “download budget” button was wisely disabled.

Sajeev Mehta
Sajeev Mehta

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  • Sajeev Mehta Sajeev Mehta on Oct 02, 2010

    Two people mentioned that they could download the PDF. I wasn't so lucky, but I really want to read it. (blame Firefox?)

    If someone has the PDF and can mail it to me @, I would certainly appreciate it.

  • Dwford Dwford on Oct 06, 2010

    Ford is putting all its eggs in the Ford brand basket for this model cycle, so everything about Lincoln is just a band-aid placeholder until the whole next generation arrives. They are making the best of what they have.

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