NICK BUNKLEY

Why Lincoln needs me (and you and Jimmy Fallon) to reinvent itself

Automotive News | December 5, 2012 - 3:46 pm EST

I have some exciting personal news to share.

I've been asked to help create a Super Bowl ad.

How did I get so lucky?

You see, Lincoln -- not the movie that everyone is talking about, but rather the brand of cars that hardly anyone talks about -- has a big plan to reinvent itself. Lincoln's parent, Ford Motor Co., has revealed two parts of the plan so far:

1. Add "The" and "Motor Company" to the name. Done and done.

2. Make a Super Bowl ad.

But coming up with a good Super Bowl ad is hard and expensive, so rather than paying people who do such things for a living, like those fools over at Budweiser, Ford is leaving this part up to Jimmy Fallon and me. And everyone else who exists and wants to join in for free.

But Ford is calling its experiment "Steer the Script," which I assume is an allusion to that time former CEO Jacques Nasser replaced the blue-oval logo atop its headquarters with "Ford Motor Company" in script lettering. (Apparently once a decade, Ford tries to fix something by adding the words "Motor Company.")

“They’re going to put all this into a commercial, the things that I pick,” Fallon says in a short video explaining the project posted on www.steerthescript.com.

This afternoon, Fallon, a comedian who hosts a TV show that airs approximately four hours after all current Lincoln owners have gone to bed, kicked off the campaign by soliciting ideas for the brand's first-ever Super Bowl ad on Twitter.

"What they're going to do is -- and I don't know why, but they're going to do this -- they're going to put all this into a commercial, the things that I pick," Fallon says in a short video explaining the project posted on www.steerthescript.com.

Fallon began by asking, "What's the craziest thing that ever happened to you on a road trip," which naturally produced lots of replies about bodily functions occurring in cramped quarters at highway speeds.

So to help make sure this thing works, here are a few of my own ideas after revisiting some memorable car ads from recent Super Bowls:

• Mini Darth Vader has grown up and realized that his parents tricked him with their Volkswagen's remote-start feature. He buys his own son a Lincoln MKZ, saying, "Luke, this is not your father's Lincoln."

• Jerry Seinfeld, after missing out on his chance to be first on the waiting list for the upcoming Acura NSX, instead buys a Lincoln MKZ out of a dealer's available inventory and brings in the Soup Nazi to obtain 1.9 percent financing.

• Hundreds of people are shown at a funeral Mass. The camera zooms in to show a Lincoln Town Car instead of a casket. The mourners sprinkle holy water on the car before driving away in Cadillacs. (Suggested by Dan Akerson)

• After driving his Chrysler 200 for two years and saving up, Eminem is ready to trade it in for something more upscale. He checks out BMWs, Audis and Mercedes, but nothing feels right. Finally he tries one more car, and a choir begins to sing. The voice-over announces his choice as "the new Lincoln MKZ — imported from Mexico."

Nick Bunkley is an enterprise reporter for Automotive News.Nick Bunkley is an enterprise reporter for Automotive News.

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