It’s a refuge for bluebloods and home to gingerbread cottages and camp meetings of yore. But Martha's Vineyard -- just off the elbow of Cape Cod, a half-hour ferry ride from Woods Hole, and a stone’s throw east of the Forbes family-owned Elizabeth islands -- is also where African-American politicians, old money and influencers summer. It is also home to the Martha's Vineyard African American Film Festival, in its 12th year.
And that makes it a good place for Lincoln Motor to extend its arts sponsorship program, which is partly about influencing the influencers in African-American culture. More generally, Lincoln this year also sponsored the Tribeca Film Festival, and ran a partnership with Vanity Fair and Film Independent last September.
At the film festival, which takes place the weekend of Aug. 9, Lincoln will partner with filmmaker and Lincoln brand ambassador Nelson George on a sneak preview of “A Ballerina’s Tale,” a documentary about ballerina Misty Copeland. In its first year sponsoring the festival Lincoln will offer vehicle test drives on the island, with a focus on the brand's new 2015 Lincoln MKC crossover.
Shawn Thompson, Lincoln manager of multicultural marketing, tells Marketing Daily that the brand’s involvement in the festival is part of the larger integrated campaign for the African-American market, entailing events, advertising, and digital content. The umbrella program, The Journey Project, involves cross-promotional relationships with, among others, Nelson George (beyond just sponsoring his new film), singer Emili Sandé, director Kenny Leon, and photographer Terrence A. Reese, who appear in Lincoln advertising and content, produced by diversity AOR UniWorld. The latter includes documentary features at www.now.lincoln.com, where the artists talk about their own creative journeys.
"It's really about celebrating the arts," says Thompson, noting that Lincoln has been a long-time sponsor of the Essence Black Women in Hollywood conference and — on the Ford side — the Essence Festival in New Orleans. "Lincoln is on a journey, and part of that is a long history with African-Americans." She says that at Martha's Vineyard next week Lincoln will have the complete lineup available for test drives.
She says the company is also gearing up for a new experiential program around African-American college Hellenic organizations, and is sponsoring — and will have vehicles at — the National Black MBA Association conference and reception in Atlanta, which she Thompson says is one of Lincoln's strongest markets.
The festival in Martha’s Vineyard, which comprises 48 films, dance and other performances, has several other corporate sponsors activating on site. Saatchi & Saatchi New York, back for its seventh year, will sponsor the “Nothing is Impossible” producers award; HBO, which has been a sponsor for 11 years, will preview an original series “The Knick” by producer Steven Soderbergh; and ABC will back a preview of the new sitcom series “Black-ish.” Other sponsors are NPR, Hennessy, Uptown Magazine, and Kemit Kinks.