Ford Motor Co. is breaking with its long tradition and buying an ad on the Super Bowl to promote its Lincoln brand.
The plans for the Super Bowl are only one part of Ford’s effort to capture new space in the premium automotive market, where the Lincoln brand has been largely irrelevant for the past two decades.
The new creative strategy behind Lincoln features the brand's first-ever Super Bowl ad. While General Motors announced last spring it would not advertise on the 2013 Super Bowl, brands such as Volkswagen, Hyundai and the Chrysler Group are committed to the telecast.
“We are announcing a new beginning for a brand that has been part of our company and the American fabric for more than 90 years," Ford Motor Co. Chief Executive Officer Alan Mulally said Monday.
"The new Lincoln brand will be defined by great new luxury vehicles, such as the new MKZ, that feature quality, unique style with substance and innovative technology. These elements, coupled with a new level of warm, personal and surprising experiences, will enable Lincoln to appeal to today's new luxury customer," Mulally said.
Mulally said the seeds of this announcement were planted several years ago when the company divested itself of other luxury brands, among them Aston-Martin, Jaguar, Land Rover and Volvo, and made the decision to continue to develop the Ford and Lincoln brands.
The Lincoln Motor Co. signifies the new future being built on the foundation that originally made Lincoln an inspiration for premium brands and a source of growth and value to its corporate parent, Mulally said.
With its focus on attracting a new market of individual-minded luxury consumers, Lincoln will deliver a range of vehicles that combine stunning elegant design with technical innovation, he said.
"The time is now for Lincoln," said Jim Farley, executive vice president of global marketing, sales and service, and Lincoln.
"The 'Great Recession' changed people and their view of luxury. Today, luxury consumers make decisions based on what appeals most to their passions and not what they believe will impress others. We know we need to continually surprise and delight these new clients," Farley said.
Farley said the all-new MKZ will be the first of four new Lincoln vehicles in the next four years created to appeal to these new luxury consumers who are emerging as a powerful economic force.
Called progressive luxury consumers, they are responsible for nearly 25 percent of all luxury vehicle sales in America. They are affluent individuals who no longer purchase to maintain an image for others, but instead seek fresh new alternatives that appeal to them because they found a truly unique choice.
Farley also announced that Lincoln has asked comedian Jimmy Fallon to lead the Super Bowl commercial written entirely through social media, with consumers participating through Twitter. Consumers will provide their best 140-character thoughts to a script, and Fallon will then lead the curation of the best contributions that will create the ad to run during the broadcast of the big game.
As another highlight, all-time NFL rushing leader and three-time Super Bowl champion Emmitt Smith joined Farley for the MKZ launch and has signed on as a brand ambassador to help Lincoln continue to put MKZ in the spotlight at the game in New Orleans.
"It's an honor to join Lincoln Motor Co. on its comeback journey and I'm excited that the MKZ will star in Lincoln's first-ever Super Bowl commercial," said Smith. By Joseph Szczesny
Contact Joseph Szczesny at 248-745-4650, email email@example.com or follow him on Twitter at @opjoesez.