NFL Legend Emmitt Smith Is Lincoln Brand Ambassador

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Sorry, Daniel-Day Lewis will not be the spokesperson for Lincoln Motor. Sure, Lewis is in the movie by that name, Honest Abe does appear in Lincoln's new anthem spot, and the brand is, in fact, named after the 16th president. But the new Lincoln brand ambassador is NFL Hall of Famer (and "Dancing with the Stars" winner) Emmitt Smith. That makes sense, actually, since for the very first time, the luxury brand will be advertising in next year's Super Bowl. Smith will be involved in the lead-up to the game and will be the face of Lincoln at the game, per the company.

The Super Bowl advertisement itself will also be a first: it's a consumer-generated social-media campaign in which people co-create the 60-second ad via tweets. Jimmy Fallon will be curating the effort. Specifics aren't clear just yet, but the whole thing gets going on Wednesday. 

On hand at a Monday press conference about the brand at -- where else -- Lincoln Center, in New York City, were Ford Motor CEO Alan Mulally and Ford and Lincoln Global Marketing Chief Jim Farley. The latter tells Marketing Daily that the purview of Lincoln's new agency, New York-based Hudson Rouge, won't be just advertising and brand positioning for the U.S. market. The agency, he said, will be the source for Lincoln's global brand identity, including in the boomtown Chinese market. "We are one brand around the globe so what we do here and in China is very integrated, in terms of how we present the brand. We may have some differences in China, but that new agency will be in the center of everything we do."

Farley said this is also a golden opportunity for Lincoln to grab U.S. market share, since the recession helped change the affluent mindset. Citing a study from the Luxury Institute, he said post-recession shoppers are less brand loyal, no longer want to put off the finer things, and are more likely to favor products that appeal to their desires rather what impresses the neighbors. About a quarter of luxury auto shoppers are, per the marketer, "ready to switch brands. And after the great recession they are looking for something new," he said. 

In spite of a massive new ad push, the brand's emancipation from the bottom of the consideration list will be led by the four new Lincoln vehicles coming down the pike, per Farley. He said Lincoln is counting features like push-button shifting, and the rather astonishing MPG numbers for MKZ: 45 miles per gallon highway, or city, or combined. Also, per Farley, MKZ Lincoln is the only lux brand offering advanced hybrid at the same price as the gasoline drivetrain.

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