For at least two years, the plot lines concerning Lincoln have been "How much longer until Ford kills it?" and then "How much longer until Ford turns it around?" We were told that the 2013 MKZ would begin the resurrection of a brand that many felt nostalgia for, but not love (not unlike Cadillac of not so long ago). But Lincoln knows it can't get back in the good books with just one new model; Ford's global marketing chief, Jim Farley, clued Automotive News into the lengths Lincoln will go to get customers' attentions again.

Calling it "the burden of being Lincoln," Farley said that the company's duty is to "remove any barrier that would prevent people from considering a Lincoln, taking a test drive and deciding to buy." That means a "massive" and experiential marketing campaign called, in the interim, "Reimagined," that not only wants to make the case for the brand and its cars but give consumers plenty of ways to get into those cars and drive them. Perhaps most importantly, the campaign aims to do this with younger consumers: 65 is the average age of the Lincoln owner, Farley would like to get that particular demographic way down to the 35-50 bracket.

In attempt to make the most of every interaction, Farley said Lincoln will inaugurate at 24/7 "concierge service" that offers live sales reps to help customers build and price an MKZ. It will also rebrand itself Lincoln Motor Company, which is a bit of a head-scratcher, but apparently they've determined that that's what will resonate better with the "cultural progressive magicians" and "agile visionaries" in the 35-50 age group they're after. The push will commence with a music performance on November 26, around the time of the Los Angeles Auto Show. We don't have details on the event yet, but it will be live-streamed on the website that's home for the campaign.


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  • 110 Comments
      adam1keith1980
      • 2 Years Ago
      This article talks about a lot of MBA and advertisement BS and not enough about REAR WHEEL DRIVE, V8, and flagships. Do they even know what luxury car buyers really want?
        Brian E Parker
        • 2 Years Ago
        @adam1keith1980
        Not a clue - but if you saw these guys in person, you'd understand why: They can't even show up to PR events in suits that are tailored properly.
        The Truth
        • 2 Years Ago
        @adam1keith1980
        They want a luxurious interior and decent performance. They don't give a crap about rear wheel drive.
          carguy1701
          • 2 Years Ago
          @The Truth
          Anyone who wants to play in the same sandbox as BMW needs RWD. Don't believe me? Look at Acura and Saab. Both tried to take on the Germans with FWD and failed.
      Doug
      • 2 Years Ago
      " Farley said that the company's duty is to "remove any barrier that would prevent people from considering a Lincoln, taking a test drive and deciding to buy." That means a "massive" and experiential marketing campaign......" At which point I threw up a bit in my mouth. What the $%#! is WRONG with people like this guy anyway? Are they really that stoopid, that delusional? Why don't they ask us what it takes (and, duh, its NOT another marketing campaign)? Its CARS! And if they won't ask us generally, then ask people who bought the cars made by the best of their competition. Not one will say they didn't find that magical talking head to spew a marketing campaign at them so that they could put their mind in gear and be brainwashed, and get over being timid about getting in a Lincoln and taking a test drive! NO, they will say the Lincolns were a combination of; too heavy, not enough performance, not enough luxury, behind the times etc. Sheesh!
      Spartan
      • 2 Years Ago
      Lincoln isn't selling because they don't have any exciting cars that will get 35-50 year olds in the showroom. Sure, we all know that the average person can't tell FWD from RWD from AWD, but that doesn't mean you can't spend the $ developing an exciting RWD car that will at least get people in the showrooms. Customers in the USA rarely (if ever) take their Range Rovers off road. That doesn't mean Rover can build a RWD only Rover with no off-road capability and expect people to buy. People buy based on perceived ability, it's about what you make them think a car can do, and you need the car rags and blogs to back you up. Lincoln has no perceived ability other than to get you from A to B in a very unexciting manner.
        The Truth
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Spartan
        This has nothing to do with platforms, or not having a RWD car in the showroom. Why is RWD the solution to everything? You say the average person doesn't know FWD from RWD from AWD, yet you want Ford to waste money developing a RWD car when they have plenty of viable FWD platforms? Audi does it with FWD. So can Lincoln. I don't know... the new MKZ is nice, but it STILL looks like Lincolns that no one wants. At least it's not a rebadged Ford Fusion, but I think it still needs to be something more exciting if Lincoln wants at the 30-50 year-old core of the market. Since the Fusion doesn't come as a coupe and since very few luxury brands have an entry-level coupe, why not a racy-looking 2-door to accompany this car at the lower end of the luxury market? Maybe a convertible? Make the cars stand out. Add useful technology, not technology for tghe sake of technology. And please, get rid of the naming structure. I'm a car enthusiast and know pretty much every model out there, but I can't keep track of Lincoln models. If an enthusiast can't, the average buyer certainly won't.
          carguy1701
          • 2 Years Ago
          @The Truth
          The Truth: they don't look premium. The old Acura Legends were FWD, but they looked like something you might see in a Benz showroom. Compare that with the current RL (and the forthcoming RLX), whose FWD bones are obvious in the ginormous front overhangs.
          carguy1701
          • 2 Years Ago
          @The Truth
          Also, regarding the Mondeo, it is a good platform, but its too pedestrian for the luxury segment, not to mention the general consensus is that the 2013 Fusion looks better than the 2013 MKZ.
          The Truth
          • 2 Years Ago
          @The Truth
          But it's NOT about platforms. Lexus sells a ton of ES models because no one cares it's just a Camry underneath it all. Acura has done well with the Accord-based TL. Most Audi drivers probably have no idea that they're driving AWD cars, despite having specified Quattro when they bought them. No one cares that they're FWD-based unless you're someone looking for RWD, in which case you probably own a BMW, MB or Infiniti. And who says this is a bad platform? The last Mondeo platform was regarded as one of the best midsized FWD platforms around and I assume this platform is an evolution of that one. As I read the review of the Tesla Model S, I see what Lincoln needs. THAT kind of styling! Something looking like that in a showroom for $40k would do well. Hell, is it just me or does the new Fusion look like it should have been the Lincoln and this MKZ should have ended up the new Fusion?
      Mr E
      • 2 Years Ago
      Lincoln, please get away from your MK* naming scheme while you're at it.
      Jesus!
      • 2 Years Ago
      I will tell you when Lincoln started losing its way. 1. When is started to be something its not. Lincoln is American luxury, and Ford should be proud of that. 2. When Ford's became better than Lincolns and priced in the same territory. From one who has been a loyal fan since birth(that may change real soon though), this is what I feel Lincoln needs to get back to in order to achieve their goals. Some of this is repeat, some not. 1. Names. No one knows what an MK this and that is. It's stupid, this is an American company, not a German or Japanese one. Embrace Lincolns history and restore it to its rightful self. By not doing this, the identity crisis within Lincoln and its customer(and potential), continues. 2. Where is the halo/sporty Lincoln? You killed my beloved Mark VIII. The last model was absolutley gorgeous. Then you destroyed it. Lincoln NEEDS this, something to bring buyers in, to oooh and aahhh over(neon gas tube!). Now the new MKZ is nice, but I agree it is too slick. It needs that American look to it, bold, understated, with little details to wow people. Think 90's Town Car. It was bold and massive and proud of it. No excuses. That is why Cadillac is going where they are today. No excuses, in your face, we are American like it or not, and we are here to stay. Americans are bright eyed and bold, that should be translated into our vehicles. 3. Ditch the unpainted plastic. It does not look good, it will never look good, and it has no place on any car 25k and up, especially a luxury car. You have a chance to fix this on the MKZ. 4. The LS was awesome. Did you know that as a man in my early 20s, I seriously wanted one...I was even willing to go used. My grandparents so graciously purchased one for me, dark blue, tan leather, V6. It. Was. Beautiful. Then you killed it. Thats two Lincolns I wanted from a teenager and up. You hit your target audience once before. So you see my dear Lincoln, I will always love you.. But until you give me an American luxury car, I might as well go buy a Lexus. P.S. I still love the Navigator, but can the ol girl get some love before she ends up like the 2006/7 Taurus, the Ranger, and so many other vehicles Ford neglected over several decades?
        purrpullberra
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Jesus!
        I never say this, but "Thank you Jesus!" Great post, great ideas.
          Jesus!
          • 2 Years Ago
          @purrpullberra
          Haha I am not Jesus its just me shouting out His name. But thanks on the rest!
      EB110Americana
      • 2 Years Ago
      This reminds me of what GM did with Pontiac for the last 10-15 years of its existence. Instead of doubling down and fixing the problem by building the right product from the ground up, they keep throwing random ideas at the wall hoping something cheaper will stick. Every few years we see a "new" design direction from Lincoln which will purportedly return them to their former glory. Instead of unique platforms, Lincoln offers the same volume chassis as found in the Ford dealership with the same AWD options. Ford has even entertained hocking an economy city car through Lincoln because they have no idea what to do with the brand. And now they are trying to fix it with marketing. There's nothing wrong with anonymous near-luxury. Lexus volume largely comes from FWD models like the ES and RX. The Buick and Acura brands also live in this territory. The problem with selling near-luxury Fords is that Ford already sells near-luxury Fords! You can get some very nice, very expensive Taurus, Explorer, and Flex models at or over $50K. After all the failed experiments with Lincoln are complete, Ford will have invested more money than if they had simply bit the bullet and done things right from the start--and that's not even accounting for lost sales. It's time to give Lincoln a fighting chance with some honest RWD cars that don't make excuses for playing in the full-on luxury field. Ford, keep the Falcon in production and use its platform for a large RWD Lincoln sedan, coupe, and convertible. Use the next Mustang platform to take on the 3-Series and ATS with a small sedan and maybe even a coupe to go along with it. And for God sakes, pay homage to great Lincolns of the past like the '60s era Continental. When you get that right, *then* you can start trying to improve on perfection. If you build them, people will buy these cars. And more than that, people will talk about these cars and come into your showrooms to see them...even buying Lincolns that share more with FWD Fords. In the end, isn't that the best form of "advertising investment?"
      JayP
      • 2 Years Ago
      The best Lincoln in the last 40 years has to be the Cadillac Ciel Concept from last year.
      joejoe509
      • 2 Years Ago
      If Caddy can do it, so can Ford/Lincoln. It wasn't always perfect and Caddy still has a way to go before truly competing with the big dogs, but they are really really on track. Lincoln just continues to fall behind. Actually, let me take this a step further. If Hyundai can make a decent respectable luxury car with the Genesis, so can Lincoln. C'mon Ford! HYUNDAI!! You've been trying since at least the early 2000's to reclaim some former glory and now is the time!! Everyday that passes, they public forgets about Lincoln just a little more...
      imoore
      • 2 Years Ago
      "It will also rebrand itself Lincoln Motor Company." Is this a joke? These guys are are getting paid tons of money, and this is what they came up with? Appaently the real burden of being Lincoln is being saddled with executives, marketers and engineers who, in paraphrasing Lincoln's old advertising slogan, have no idea of what a luxury car should be.
      Cruising
      • 2 Years Ago
      Lincoln has a design language sadly they are all in there concept vehicles. 2001 MK9 concept, 2002 Continental concept, 2004 Mark X concept to name a few. Hell even the recent MKR concept was cool. I know it's cheaper to use existing platforms and that can dictate how the vehicles are styled but by god if you have to spend a few years on R&D to build new platforms to invigorate the brand then do it.
      L1011
      • 2 Years Ago
      I don't understand why Lincoln can't understand that their problem isn't "removing any barrier". It's their cars. Their cars are ugly, have weird names, and are glorified clones of other Ford products. It's the cars, stupid.
      omgcool
      • 2 Years Ago
      If they don't have any RWD offerings, I am once again writing them off. I'm genuinely frustrated with Lincoln as it seems they don't take the luxury-sport market seriously (which is practically now THE luxury market--Only Lexus can successfully sell dynamic-as-molasses FWD re-badged mainstream cars for extra money and no one says boo). Lincoln insists on building stagnant [albeit high-quality] FWD sedans when Ford has a heck of a Mustang platform right now, upon which a very competitive sedan could be built; maybe even two. And Ford Europe still makes the Falcon, correct? I was very hopeful when the MKS came out, and before that, the LS. The MKS was a great-looking, high-quality luxury sedan. Even though it was heavy, huge-outside&small-inside and remained FWD, I saw it as a relatively large step in the right direction, and I thought Lincoln would soon join Cadillac as a re-emergent storied luxury brand which ultimately sees pleasing success. But they tease. After the MKS, it seems as if they said "good enough for now" and let the rest of the brand soldier on with minimal consideration. I honestly expect nothing more with this release of the new MKZ, which again looks fantastic, but I think will be the sole-player in Lincoln's stable until the next "Lincoln revolution" comes about in roughly four or five years. I very much hope that I'm wrong. I'd like to own a Lincoln some day, but of course the product has to satisfy, even captivate. For the record, I don't think anyone will take Lincoln seriously again until they go RWD. It's practically a requirement today [except for, for some reason, Lexus and to some extent Acura]. They can talk about their exceptional service and their new-found attention to advertising all they want; I simply will not be convinced of them until they suggest interest in a sporty RWD midsize sedan. End rant.
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