Lincoln, McConaughey team up again to pitch MKZ

Lincoln, McConaughey team up again to pitch MKZ

The new MKZ ads, part of actor Matthew McConaughey’s multiyear deal as Lincoln’s celebrity spokesman, are scheduled to begin airing this week, during college football bowl games on New Year’s Day.

Automotive News

DETROIT — Late-night comedy writers, take note: Ford Motor Co. is rolling out a new set of commercials with Matthew McConaughey behind the wheel of a Lincoln as the luxury brand extends its most talked-about advertising campaign in years.

This time, the actor has swapped his MKC for an MKZ sedan. Lincoln said the spots have the same style and tone as the original McConaughey ads, which included an encounter with a bull named Cyrus and odd ramblings as he drives. They have generated significant attention for the brand largely thanks to parodies by “Saturday Night Live,” Conan O’Brien, Ellen DeGeneres and others.

The new MKZ ads, part of McConaughey’s multiyear deal as Lincoln’s celebrity spokesman, are scheduled to begin airing this week, during college football bowl games on New Year’s Day.

“The overwhelming response to the MKC campaign sparked truly great awareness for Lincoln,” Andrew Frick, Lincoln’s group marketing manager, said in a statement. “Matthew’s natural storytelling ability perfectly complements the Lincoln story as we continue to raise awareness and drive conversation in creative and unexpected ways. Including Lincoln MKZ is a natural progression in our collaborative process, and we look forward to continuing the momentum with this campaign to share our brand with a wider audience.”

Lincoln’s U.S. sales have risen 15 percent in 2014 through November, putting the brand on pace to post its largest annual increase since 1997. The MKC, introduced in the spring, was Lincoln’s top-selling nameplate in November.

Dealers have been widely complimentary of the McConaughey campaign, called “Live in Your Moment,” saying the ads are bringing in new customers and breaking down the brand’s stodgy image. Lincoln executives say the numerous parodies of the commercials have been great publicity, even though some of the portrayals are unflattering.

A “Saturday Night Live” spoof starring Jim Carrey as McConaughey has been viewed about 9 million times on YouTube in the past 2 months, compared to about 2 million views over 4 months for the real version of that commercial. DeGeneres’ parody has been watched nearly 6 million times.

The new commercials, as with the original ones, were directed by Nicolas Winding Refn and created by ad agency Hudson Rouge. They were filmed over two days in Los Angeles.

One spot, titled “Diner,” is set at a restaurant and highlights the MKZ’s push-button start, retractable panoramic roof and other features, including the soon-to-be discontinued MyLincoln Touch driver connectivity system. In the other spot, called “Balance,” McConaughey admires the MKZ Hybrid’s design and fuel efficiency in front of the Los Angeles skyline.

“If I can be authentic, and the spots are authentic, then we are sending the same message,” McConaughey said in Lincoln’s statement. “And I think we’re doing that in this series of Lincoln ads.”

You can reach Nick Bunkley at nbunkley@crain.com. — Follow Nick on Twitter

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