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Lincoln Asks Public to Help Write its 1st-Ever Super Bowl Ad

Comedian Jimmy Fallon will reach out to “Twitter-sphere."

by on Dec.04, 2012

Late Night host Jimmy Fallon will Tweet for Lincoln - and then help write its 1st-ever Super Bowl ad.

As it prepares to launch its first-ever ad on the much-watched Super Bowl, Lincoln will turn to comedian Jimmy Fallon and the “Twitter-sphere” for help, according to the Ford Motor Co. subsidiary’s new marketing chief.

On Wednesday, Fallon will send out a 140-character blurb asking his fans for their ideas on what Lincoln should say during its debut commercial. The automaker plans to pull together some of the best ideas and turn them into a cohesive spot that it hopes will garner enough attention to stand out during a broadcast event watched as much for its advertising as for the game itself.

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“We’re open to new things,” said Matt VanDyke, global director of marketing, sales and service for the long-struggling luxury brand, during an interview with

Indeed, there are a lot of new things happening at the Ford subsidiary.

Lincoln gets a new name.

The maker this week announced plans to return to its original name, the Lincoln Motor Co.  It has also launched an aggressive new ad campaign that asks potential buyers “Does the World Need Another Luxury Car.” It is hoping the answer is yes, of course, and that it can convince at least some motorists to consider the new Lincoln MKZ.

(For more on the changes at Lincoln, Click Here.)

The MKZ is one of four new models slated for launch by 2014. But, as reported, Lincoln is already developing plans for additional new models , including one or more that will switch from front to rear-wheel-drive. (Click Here for that report.)

Product is clearly critical to the turnaround, stresses VanDyke, but in today’s market, Lincoln barely even registers with potential buyers, so “We need to put something out there that’s different” on the marketing end to get noticed.

The deal with comedian Fallon will be just one of the more visible examples.  The host of NBC’s Late Night program has nearly 4 million followers, according to Twitter, which Lincoln hopes should generate both buzz – and plenty of creative ideas for the Super Bowl ad.

But you won’t have to wait until next February to see what other ideas the maker has.  The new print ad campaign will be followed by a multimedia blitz that will put Lincoln “everywhere” in the coming months, according to VanDyke.

Fallon will follow his initial Tweet with a continuing series of messages about the Lincoln brand.

The maker plans to post more details on Wednesday on its website.

The project is being overseen by HudsonRouge, the new ad agency created specifically for Lincoln by the mega-marketing firm WPP. Based in New York, it is working closely with VanDyke and his boss, Ford’s corporate marketing chief Jim Farley – who was recently named the head of Lincoln.

The luxury maker once rivaled Cadillac as the dominant player in the nation’s highline automotive market but it has steadily lost ground in recent years. Indeed, sales are off nearly 3% this year even as the rest of the American market has posted a collective 15% gain.

Lincoln still has a modest following in the Midwest, said VanDyke, but, “We clearly have to reach out and be successful in the markets that define the lux segment, like New York, Los Angeles and Miami.”  Those and other coastal markets will be heavily targeted by the new ad campaign.

Can Lincoln turn itself around? Company officials point to their cross-town rival, Cadillac, as a sign that there’s hope for a domestic luxury brand – though Caddy is still early in its own renaissance effort.  Another example is Chrysler. The maker has put a heavy emphasis on creative marketing – itself scoring big during the last two Super Bowls with unusual, two-minute commercials featuring rapper Eminem and actor Clint Eastwood.

November saw Chrysler report its 32nd consecutive monthly sales gain, a record the company credits, in part, to its marketing efforts.

Now it’s Lincoln’s turn to see whether creativity can translate into sales.



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