Navigating New Terrain Y&R Campaign Reshapes Lincoln Image

By Scott Hume

CHICAGO–Ford Motor Co.’s Lincoln-Mercury division begins advertising for its new Navigator

luxury sport utility vehicle on June 23. But more is riding on the campaign than just a new model launch.

‘This is the first step in the creation of an entirely new brand personality for Lincoln,’ said Mike Richards, Navigator brand manager at Detroit-based Lincoln-Mercury. ‘This campaign will reenergize the entire brand and change perceptions of Lincoln.’

Two 30-second TV spots and an extensive print campaign precede the July 1 arrival of the vehicle at dealerships–with a base price of about $40,000. The advertisements play off of Lincoln’s current ‘What a luxury car should be’ with a small photograph of the Navigator replacing the word ‘car.’

Young & Rubicam, Detroit, is Lincoln-Mercury’s agency.

In one spot, a young man tosses a valet his keys and asks him to retrieve ‘the black Lincoln.’ The valet has to travel across a wilderness to find the Navigator.

‘It plays to the assumption of what a black Lincoln will be,’ Richards said. ‘Navigator isn’t your typical Lincoln. The advertising is provocative, with more of an attitude, and that’s different for Lincoln.’

Headlines in the print ads such as ‘Ditch the Joneses’ continue the campaign’s irreverent tone. ‘Lincoln is a very respected brand, but relevant to only a small part of the market,’ Richards said. ‘We’re shifting the paradigm of the brand with this (campaign).’

The advertising copy always identifies the vehicle as ‘Navigator from Lincoln’ rather than ‘Lincoln Navigator’ because ‘Navigator brings more to Lincoln,’ Richards explained.

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