Super Bowl Ad Watch: Great Ideas Cause Lincoln to Change Its Super Bowl Ad Buy


Jimmy Fallon came up with so much good stuff for Lincoln’s Super Bowl commercial from his #SteertheScript Twitterfest that brand executives ripped up their plan for Big Game advertising and went with the flow.

In a new twist this week, brandchannel learned, Ford decided to break its presence in Super Bowl XLVII on Feb. 3 into two 30-second TV ads instead of its originally planned single, 60-second TV commercial. The gambit is a reversal of the action taken recently by Wonderful Pistachios in turning its original intention for two 15-second Super Bowl spots into one 30-second commercial, starring Psy the Gangnam rapper.

“The last [few days] have seen the creative process unfold, and what we witnessed was that we’re having a hard time containing the content even in a rich 60-second spot,” Andrew Frick, Lincoln group marketing manager, told brandchannel. So one of the 30-second spots, titled “Phoenix,” will focus more intently on the wonders of Lincoln’s redesigned MKZ sedan — the first in a parade of major new products — while the other 30 seconds will give full sway to Fallon’s imaginings.[more]

In addition, Lincoln is putting together a 90-second, long-form spot based on #SteertheScript that will be available only online after the end of the game. “There was too much to do and say in one 30- or even 60-second period,” Frick said. “A 90-second ad allows character development to play out and so a more cohesive communication.”

For example, new Lincoln brand ambassador Emmitt Smith was originally in the 60-second ad in voice form, but now he’ll be included only in the 90-second online video.

Under Lincoln’s #SteertheScript promotion launched last fall, it was the job of TV host and comic Fallon to curate the best contributions from 6,117 tweets to create an ad for the third quarter of the game that highlighted contributors’ most intriguing road trips.

As teased on YouTube over the last few weeks, Lincoln’s creative mix includes 20 alpacas, 10 turtles, several bikers and a hokey-looking spaceship in a desert setting. Indulging Fallon’s vision with all of these elements apparently left little room in that context to extol MKZ. So it’s little wonder Lincoln decided to go in a split direction, even this late in the pre-game.

Frick said that breaking its ad buy into two chunks became the most obvious way for Ford to succeed in promoting both the new vehicle and its “new” brand.

“You want to show your vehicle; the car is always the star, in some ways,” he said. “But you also want to strike the balance of not becoming too rational, and showing the more emotional side of the vehicle and how it relates to people individually and how the vehicle becomes a mechanism for their real-life experiences. We’re trying to connect the vehicle and the experiences in everyday life and how important the vehicle is to them.”

Among what Lincoln described as the tweets that “drove the final narrative” and their tweeters:

@karinarosewhite: “We drove passed [sic] an alpaca farm, a few of them were meandering on the highway and my sister screamed, ‘It’s the Alpacalypse!’

@debdef: “Picked up a German hitchhiker who came to America to study farming!?! Drove him back to Austin to meet my friends.”

@AllenFabijan: “Thousands of turtles crossing the road in FL. Dad stops, so did a huge scary Harley gang! Us and the gang played checkers!”

@Will_Stenner: “Drove through a movie set in Palemdale [sic], CA didn’t realize it. Got out and enjoyed the catered food.”

Here’s a look at the latest #steerthescript preview: