Lincoln will use its first sport-utility, the Navigator, to try to change its stodgy image and energize the brand.
The first of two Navigator TV spots debut June 23 during Wimbledon tennis tournament broadcasts as part of the estimated $45 million campaign from Lincoln-Mercury. The TV buy gets heavier in July, and will carry into September.
In the ads, Young & Rubicam removed the word 'car' from Lincoln's longtime tag, 'What a luxury car should be,' and inserted a photo of the Navigator.
'To us, the Navigator is about more than a sport-utility. It's the beginning of a new Lincoln,' said Michael Richards, Navigator brand manager. 'We'll use the Navigator to shift the paradigm on how luxury consumers see the Lincoln brand.'
He declined to discuss the specifics of ad spending. But he said Lincoln-Mercury already has 10,000 orders for the full-sized sport-utility, and could reach projected 30,000 first-year sales without advertising.
The first spot parodies previous Lincoln ads, opening with an affluent-looking baby boomer couple asking a valet for 'the black Lincoln.' Instead of a parking lot, the young valet vaults across a mountainous crevice, climbs a rock wall and ducks a pursuing bear to reach the vehicle parked alone at the top of a hill.
The second spot features an unseen opera singer belting out 'Home on the Range' in Italian.
'We wanted to build a personality for Navigator, try to expand our audience and change the way people think about the brand,' said Mike Belitsos, creative director at Young & Rubicam.
TV time makes up about 30 percent of the media push, said Mark Turner, management supervisor.
Print accounts for about 30 percent including newspaper advertising; the rest of the budget is outdoor, direct mail and the Internet.
The Navigator's competitors include the GMC Yukon from General Motors.
That vehicle is getting a significant media-spending increase, according to Kevin Stein, assistant brand manager.