Ford's Lincoln division is on the 52nd Grammy Awards this Sunday evening to promote the MKZ, MKT and MKS cars with a series of commercials that have a music video feel. The ads include one whose soundtrack is a contemporary riff on David Bowie's "Space Oddity." The song, "Major Tom," by the band Shiny Toy Guns, is the soundtrack for the current Lincoln MKZ ads.
And the company has, in fact, used a remake of "Space Oddity" in ads -- part of a two-year-old effort to get younger buyers hip to Lincoln and vice versa. On the product side, Lincoln has pretty much revamped its entire lineup with vehicles intended to revitalize a brand that for years had developed a somewhat schizophrenic personality: on the one hand, big SUVs like Navigator had an urban hip-hop chic, while big cars like Town Car had a senior-citizens rep (and owner demographic).
The new TV spots feature tunes like a remake of "Burnin' for You" (for the MKS EcoBoost spot), and "Under the Milky Way" (for the MKT). The ads direct viewers to www.lincoln.com/music, which has a full concert performance by Shiny Toy Guns, as well as behind-the-scenes footage featuring the band and singer Sia, whose stylings grace the current Lincoln MKT commercial. The Web site also hosts a promotion wherein visitors, starting Feb. 1, can choose among four bands for the song to back the next Lincoln ads.
Lincoln says the "Major Tom" ad for Lincoln MKZ has gotten more than 447,000 views on YouTube and was voted the most popular ad song of the year for 2009 by Adtunes.
Lincoln was also official sponsor of the first Essence Black Women in Music event this week in Hollywood. At the event, honoring multi-Grammy winner Mary J. Blige, Lincoln had two 2010 Lincoln MKS vehicles on display, a custom advertorial in Essence honoring the top Grammy picks, and a presence in the event's recap story both inside the magazine and at www.essence.com. Lincoln also sponsored last year's 2009 Essence Music Festival in New Orleans.
The company says Lincoln is succeeding in bringing in younger buyers many from other makes, and that between 2005 and 2009, Lincoln's share of the luxury segment increased 30%.