2018 Lincoln Navigator will have familiar face in driver's seat: Matthew McConaughey
Lincoln’s work with Matthew McConaughey began in 2015.
UPDATED: 12/28/17 8:15 am ET – adds interview, details
DETROIT — Ford Motor Co. is putting Matthew McConaughey back in the driver’s seat, this time in the redesigned 2018 Lincoln Navigator for a new marketing campaign for the brand.
The campaign, “Perfect Rhythm,” kicked off Thursday with a 60-second video on Lincoln’s social media sites. A full TV ad will air Jan. 1 during the College Football Playoff.
Lincoln once again enlisted cinematographer Wally Pfister, who also filmed the “That’s Continental” campaign last year, and New York agency Hudson Rogue produced it. This is the latest McConaughey project with the agency; the collaboration began in 2015 with the Lincoln MKC.
In the ad, the Oscar-winning actor pulls up to a railroad crossing somewhere in the Pacific Northwest to stop in front of the empty tracks. He’s tapping on the steering wheel. He can’t see the train, but he feels it.
McConaughey drums harder on the wheel of his Navigator Black Label, increasing the tempo until he snaps his fingers. The safety guard closes, and a bell announces the arrival of the train that McConaughey appears to have summoned.
He rolls up the window and goes nuts, slamming a beat while the train whizzes past. Once it’s gone, McConaughey smiles and puts the luxury SUV in drive with the touch of a dashboard button.
Lincoln’s McConaughey ads have been mocked and spoofed by everyone from Conan O’Brien to the writers at “Saturday Night Live.” But for Lincoln, that’s more than “alright, alright, alright,” as the actor might say.
“It’s actually in the long run a good thing because it amplifies our message,” John Emmert, group marketing manager for Lincoln, told Advertising Age, an affiliate of Automotive News. “It’s rare to see advertising become part of the cultural zeitgeist of the moment, and that’s what I feel like we got out of some of the early work.”
“It’s all about energy,” Emmert said of the latest ad. “Have you ever had one of those days where everything is going your way and everything just kind of falls into place. That’s really the underlying theme of the ad … There’s a lot of shots that really play off the beauty of the Navigator.”
Through November, the Navigator’s U.S. sales slid 2.5 percent to 9,079. Lincoln’s total U.S. sales rose 1.6 percent to 100,540 deliveries in an overall market that fell 1.4 percent and a luxury market that rose 0.4 percent.
The redesigned Navigator is available in dealerships now. The Premiere trim starts at $73,250; Select at $77,250; Reserve at $82,400; and Black Label at $96,650 (all prices include shipping).
As for the marketing, Lincoln is banking on McConaughey’s broad appeal across demographics, including genders, to bring attention to the Navigator as it competes in the increasingly competitive luxury SUV market.
When measured by vehicle registrations, males appear to dominate Navigator purchases. However, Lincoln’s research has revealed that females have sway over the purchases and actually do most of the driving, Emmert says.
E.J. Schultz of Advertising Age contributed to this report. For more coverage from Advertising Age, click here.