Lincoln stepped up its advertising game Thursday by announcing Oscar-winning actor Matthew McConaughey had signed on to be the company’s spokesman.
For the next two years, McConaughey will appear in a series of broadcast and digital ads for Ford’s luxury division, which is in the middle of reinventing both its image and its vehicles after years of sagging sales.
“Now is the perfect opportunity to share to a wider audience what our brand offers,” said Matt VanDyke, Lincoln’s global head of marketing. “Matthew is the ideal personality to help us tell this story, and it is only the beginning of what we trust will be a fantastic relationship.”
Lincoln’s first spots with McConaughey will feature the actor in Lincoln’s new MKC compact crossover, and will be directed by Nicolas Winding Refn, known for his film “Drive.”
“The campaign’s not screaming for attention,” McConaughey said in a preview video released by Lincoln. “It’s as much about the tone, the mood, the silent moments in between the words and in between the dialogue.”
McConaughey joins other notable Hollywood actors who pitch for car companies. Jon Hamm voices Mercedes-Benz ads, James Spader has done work for Acura, which also sponsors Jerry Seinfeld’s “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” Web series, and Jeff Bridges has been the voice of Hyundai for several years.
McConaughey’s star is on the rise. He won an Academy Award for best actor this year for his role in “Dallas Buyers Club,” and is considered a front-runner for an Emmy next week for his work in HBO’s “True Detective.” Fittingly, McConaughey also starred in a 2011 film called “Lincoln Lawyer,” in which he played a defense attorney who worked out of the back seat of his Lincoln Town Car.
Lincoln could use his help. For years, its products languished as Ford spent precious R&D dollars on its other luxury nameplates, including Volvo, Land Rover, Jaguar and Aston Martin.
Now that those brands have all been sold, Ford has turned its attention back to Lincoln, hoping to mirror the transformation Cadillac has spent the past two decades engineering. It’s a slow process. Though it sells a fraction of what Mercedes-Benz or BMW can count on, Lincoln’s sales are up 16% for the first seven months of this year.
Adding the all-new MKC to the lineup will certainly help. The luxury compact crossover segment is one of the fastest-growing in the industry as both empty-nesters and first-time luxury buyers flock to the vehicles’ high-end practicality. Lincoln is expected to introduce a redesigned version of the larger MKX crossover next year, and a new sedan in 2016.
The first commercial will air Sept. 4