By on September 13, 2019

Ads for the 2020 Lincoln Aviator are scheduled to drop this Saturday, but those of us with internet access got to see them a day early. Lincoln’s “Fresh Take” campaign is a bit of a misnomer, however, because the person who’s chiming in on the new model is Matthew McConaughey.

Ford has used the Oscar-winning actor to showcase its premium products for years now, and this writer is not ashamed to say that he’s grown to love them. While not particularly substantive, they’re difficult to look away from. McConaughey muses about the vehicle in a calm, dreamlike haze. Occasionally looking into the rearview mirror before casually reapplying his attention to the always clear road ahead, he’s presumably talking to himself — but it’s really for our benefit.

And that’s why I’m so fond of them. In my mind, McConaughey is a polished lunatic — not quite a Patrick Bateman, but definitely unhinged. And it translates into comedy gold. Yet another viewer might see the ad and think, “Boy he’s handsome and calm — it’s like nothing is ever going to go wrong inside that car.”

It wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest to learn that the people creating these ads are totally aware of this dual nature and happily lean into it when manufacturing content. Remember the spot for the 2018 Lincoln Navigator? The dude literally stopped at an open railroad crossing and willed a freight train into existence. That’s some David Lynch-level stuff.

And while it’s probably insane to try and find a narrative in these ads, I have a loose theory that McConaughey’s character is that of a Lincoln salesman trapped inside his own dream. The more realistic scenario is that Ford just pays him a lot of money to act cool in the tranquil reality that has been built up around him and Lincoln’s various products. Either way, it’s still working.

The latest ad sees McConaughey silently piloting the Aviator through pink clouds produced by other manufacturers’ raucous sedans drifting around him. He’s not concerned as the voices inside his head passively acknowledges their existence, calling them “an amped-up, over-tuned feeding frenzy of sheet metal.”

He then pulls away to leave them behind, finding himself on a traffic-free highway. “Then there’s performance that just leaves you feeling better as a result,” he continues. “That’s the kind Lincoln’s about.”

Johan Renck, best known for directing music videos and a handful of episodes of Breaking Bad, helmed the filming. Production duties went to the NYC-based ad firm Hudson Rouge, while the music was performed by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.

“We created an upfront scene that isn’t quite real,” said Jon Pearce, chief creative officer of Hudson Rouge, the company that produced the spot. “It’s picturesque, based in reality, but it represents this fray – a feeding frenzy of other brands’ obsessive focus on just performance.”

The campaign has already started making the rounds online and will make its first TV broadcast debut during the Notre Dame vs. New Mexico football game at 2:30 p.m. (ET) on NBC.


[Images: Ford Motor Co.]

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