The Lincoln Overhaul

From a brand that actually described itself as having been “mostly associated with town cars and grandpas,” Lincoln Motor Company has put in a monumental effort to change their image and capture a new audience.

Lincoln Motor Company is a classic, iconic brand in the US. But being 90 years old, it has needed an image overhaul. Lincoln has reinvented itself, calling it a ‘re-introduction.’ And it’s a branded content goldmine. They have reigned in musicians, filmmakers, directors and developed new technologies in audio and visual engineering. I feel like Lincoln has made its point – it’s kind of a big deal. The most impressive of Lincoln’s reinvention is the sheer scale of each of its campaigns.

To capture the attention of a younger market, they created a digital platform called ‘Hello Again,’ which gives the opportunity to young filmmakers and directors to reinvent the old and familiar in a new way. The strategy behind Hello Again is to imitate the reinvention of the brand.

 

Blinkink directors Becky & Joe have produced a charming animated film as part of the Lincoln Motor Company’s ‘Hello, Again’ series of shorts that experiment with drawn-on film techniques. It’s a combination of ink, paint, bleach and scratching into different film sizes, as well as drawing on top of super 8 footage.

 


We are quite familiar with this duo, Wriggles and Robins. In their latest work commissioned by Lincoln, we see life from the perspective of a spinning record. The first few seconds are dizzying at first but the film slows to show slow motion panoramic shots of four different scenarios.

 

Garrett Pruter is as much as an inventor as an artist, having perfected a method of transforming photographic prints into paint. By using strangers’ photographs and slides, he dissolves the pigment and turns them into new works.

 

As part of the Hello Again campaign, Lincoln approached musician, Beck to be a part of the brand re-invention. Beck and 167 musicians, ranging from orchestral to choir, perform David Bowie’s “Sound & Vision.” Director, Chris Milk helped turn a live event into something that could also be experienced online. New technologies were developed specifically for the performance. The performance was filmed on a 360 degree camera rig of GoPro cameras was constructed to capture the performance. A facial tracking system allowed online viewers to experience the performance from home. The cameras follow the tilt of a person’s face as they watch the screen, replicating the experience of actually being at the concert and looking around the stage.

A binaural audio head was created, which in basic terms, creates a 3D stereo sound sensation, meaning that viewers at home could hear and see the performance as if they were actually standing there. Oh, and let’s not forget the whole thing was performed on a rotating stage. You can see more about the concert here. And view the experience for yourself here.

 

On a completely different front, their branded film is another visual spectacle of the lengths Lincoln is willing to go to re-invent itself. Lincoln’s new agency HudsonRouge teams up with Chris Hewitt from Knucklehead and The Mill for the launch of their redesigned 2013 Lincoln MKZ.

Filmed in Vancouver, it’s pretty breathtaking. The film has a beautiful colour grading, and some superb 2D and 3D artwork. The voiceover effectively conveys the brand’s values of individuality. Visual motifs, such as the rocket launch, places the brand within America’s collective history.

 

It’s nice to see the depth of branded content work from such an established brand. With a lot of effort, Lincoln have distanced themselves from their ‘grandpa’ image and accessed a new audience.