Lincoln Reboots Brand With First Super Bowl Commercial, Ad Blitz


  • 2013 Lincoln MKZ Picture

    2013 Lincoln MKZ Picture

    Lincoln's 2013 ad blitz includes the brand's first Super Bowl commercial. | December 03, 2012

3 Photos

Just the Facts:
  • Lincoln is launching a major advertising blitz, including a commercial that will air during the 2013 Super Bowl, as it attempts to recast itself as a relevant postmodern brand.
  • Ford's premium brand has been renamed the Lincoln Motor Company in a nod to its heritage.
  • The ad campaign coincides with the launch of the 2013 Lincoln MKZ sedan and MKZ Hybrid.

NEW YORK — Lincoln is launching a major advertising blitz, including a commercial that will air during the 2013 Super Bowl, as it attempts to recast itself as a relevant postmodern brand.

Ford's premium brand has been renamed the Lincoln Motor Company in a nod to its heritage.

The ad campaign coincides with the launch of the 2013 Lincoln MKZ sedan and MKZ Hybrid. Lincoln has not put a price tag on the multimedia ad campaign.

One of the characters in the new Lincoln commercials is President Abraham Lincoln, who strides out of the mist wearing his signature top hat in a commercial posted on the Lincoln Web site on Monday. Lincoln — the car brand — may benefit from the current popularity of the movie Lincoln, starring Daniel Day-Lewis, who is expected to get an Oscar nomination for his riveting portrayal of the Civil War president.

But whether leaning heavily on its past will rekindle the Lincoln brand with consumers is uncertain.

"Lincoln is just starting out on a long journey to gaining luxury car credibility and it is miles behind its competitors," said Michelle Krebs, Edmunds.com senior analyst.

"Success will take more than a company name change and a Super Bowl ad, even if it does star President Lincoln. Even moderate success will take a long time and significant resources and will require a constant stream of compelling vehicles substantially differentiated from Fords."

Ford is leaning heavily on Lincoln's past as it remakes the brand, a rather unusual step for an automaker these days.

Describing the new TV commercials, Ford said "the spots evoke what has historically made Lincoln stand apart in the luxury category, while using the new MKZ as the face of the reinvented brand."

Lincoln "was originally called the Lincoln Motor Company in 1922 when Edsel Ford signed the agreement purchasing the company from its founder Henry Leland," Ford noted.

Auto pioneer Leland — who was an architect of Cadillac's phenomenal success — had voted for Abraham Lincoln in 1864 and, to honor the Great Emancipator, named his new car Lincoln. But automotive historians have chronicled the brand's rocky start prior to its purchase by Ford in 1922.

"Lincoln's success (in 1920) seemed assured until customers got an actual look at the car," according to the book A Century of Automotive Style: 100 Years of American Car Design.

"No one doubted that the first Model L Lincolns (L for Leland) would shine mechanically, but it suddenly became clear that the new Lincoln lacked style — not only lacked it but looked downright homely. Bodies stood tall and upright as barns."

Edmunds says: Will a name change and commercials that call up the ghost of Abraham Lincoln be enough to reinvent Lincoln?

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