New 2015 Lincoln MKC ads star Matthew McConaughey

“When Lincoln came to me with the idea and the campaign, I liked what the message was about,” says actor Matthew McConaughey. “'Authentic' was the word that kept coming out.”

UPDATED: 8/21/14 10:17 am ET - adds McConaughey video

DETROIT -- Lincoln has signed a multiyear endorsement contract with Oscar-winning actor Matthew McConaughey that will begin in September with a series of spots promoting the 2015 MKC compact luxury crossover.

Lincoln said today McConaughey will first appear in TV and digital spots by Danish film director Nicolas Winding Refn that feature a story line in which McConaughey invites viewers to experience the MKC through “unscripted moments in the commercial.”

McConaughey, who starred in a 2011 movie called The Lincoln Lawyer that features him as a sleazy lawyer who practices his profession out of the back seat of a Lincoln Town Car, says in a video clip that Lincoln approached him with the idea.

“When Lincoln came to me with the idea and the campaign, I liked what the message was about,” he says in his Texas drawl. “‘Authentic’ was the word that kept coming out.”

Though Lincoln said it won’t unveil the spots until next month, the brand did drop some hints by releasing a video clip of McConaughey talking about his love of driving and his respect for Lincoln and its heritage.

'Not screaming for attention'

“I like the history and that it’s American-made,” he says. “The campaign’s not screaming for attention. It’s as much about the mood, the silence between the words.”

The video features lingering shots of the landscape of McConaughey’s native Texas.

Matt VanDyke, director of global Lincoln, said in a statement: “Matthew is a natural fit with Lincoln and where we are going as a brand. With the MKC coming to market in a hot, competitive segment, now is the perfect opportunity to share with a wider audience what our brand offers. Matthew is the ideal personality to help us tell this story.”

VanDyke said the MKC spots will be “only the beginning of what we trust will be a fantastic relationship.”

McConaughey won the Best Actor Academy Award for his portrayal of an AIDS patient who procures unapproved HIV drugs and distributes them to fellow patients in the 2013 film Dallas Buyers Club.

Younger buyers

The MKC is Lincoln’s entry in the rapidly growing compact luxury crossover segment. The MKC is a new nameplate for Lincoln, which was historically known for large luxury sedans and one of the oldest customer bases in the industry. Lincoln is trying to reinvent itself by attracting younger “culturally progressive” buyers.

The brand has been struggling to win customers in a luxury arena dominated by German giants Mercedes-Benz and BMW. Through the end of July, Lincoln ranked eighth among luxury brands in the U.S. with sales of 52,385 vehicles. BMW tops luxury brands so far with sales of 183,791, closely followed by Mercedes with 178,816.

The MKC, which went on sale in May, starts at $33,995, including shipping. Through July, Lincoln has sold 2,895 in the U.S.

You can reach Bradford Wernle at

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