Project: Lincoln “Feel Smarter” print campaign, for Ford Motor Company

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Ford Motor Company
Lincoln “Feel Smarter” print campaign

Print ads calculated to sell well-appointed automobiles to Americans

Print work developed to accompany Lincoln’s broadcast campaign featuring Mad Men star John Slattery. Executive creative directors Alicia Johnson and Hal Wolverton were in Los Angeles shooting the spots; they tasked us (and our mates Patrik Bolecek and Peter Jennings) with getting these concepted and executed. In three weeks.

Are these the best print ads ever produced? Hell, no. Frankly, the copy could be stronger and more aggressive. We do like how they ended up communicating: the photography is superb, and physically they don’t resemble anything else in their category. They look like luxury without recycling the familiar tropes. Finally, there is discipline and order in the typography, which is rare indeed in automotive advertising in general, and the American variety in particular.

1/6

Not born yesterday: spread

We wrote a bunch of setups having to do with Ford’s technology and Lincoln being the choice of the smarter luxury shopper: short, declarative headlines supported by payoffs intended to antagonize Lincoln’s competitors. Our favorite was “There’s a sucker born every minute. And that’s why they make Cadillacs.” (It didn’t run – Detroit is a rather Victorian gentleman; the Big Three will go to war against the imports but rarely call each other out.)

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2/6

Not born yesterday: single page

Luxury is monochromatic: the more you pay for a product, the fewer colors it is available in. Look at Apple Computer’s products: the mid-level stuff is colorful, and the top-of-the-line is black or silver. The same holds for cars, though the people tasked with marketing luxury cars are forever raging against ads being “too dark” or “too cold.” Lincolns are of course available in many colors, but unless you’re selling Corvettes, you can’t be too color-specific in an ad – so we hoped to get around the issue by showing silver cars in a twilight color environment shifting from warm to cool.

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3/6

Nobody's fool: spread

Spread version of “Nobody’s Fool”, celebrating Lincoln’s industry-leading hybrid entry. We worked out the art direction with Mr. Bolecek, and then he and Mr. Jennings did the photography, featuring ace retoucher John Parker Argote as our avatar for Mr. Slattery, whose contract did not include print appearances. Oddly, Mr. Argote looks more like Jon Hamm. Exterior views of the cars are CG (owing to the extremely short fuse on this project), directed by Mr. Jennings and Jack Ehrbar.

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4/6

Nobody's fool: single page

Single page version of “Nobody’s Fool”, as it ran in the New Yorker, using alternate shot of the MKZ.

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5/6

Intuition comes standard: spread

Spread version of ad selling interior appointments and Lincoln’s touchscreen technology, which at the time was best-of-breed in the industry, and was standard along their product offering. Mr. Bolecek had worked out the touch icon (here standing in for the “o” in “intuition”) as part of a larger brand package, though to our knowledge this is the only place it was used.

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6/6

Intuition comes standard: single page

Single page version of “Intuition” as it ran in the New Yorker

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Credits/colophon
Agency
Johnson+Wolverton
Team Detroit
Creative directors
Alicia Johnson
Hal Wolverton
Art directors
Adam McIsaac
Patrik Bolecek
Adam Hull
Copywriter
Adam McIsaac
Photography
Peter Jennings
Patrik Bolecek
CG
Jack Ehrbar
Retouching
Patrik Bolecek
John Ciambriello
Peter Gibson
Brian Truncali
Parker Argote
Producer
Craig Paull
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