Demographically, it's clear what Lincoln is going for. With an audience that is strong in the 30 to 54 demographic and with half of all viewer households boasting an income of $100,000 a year or more, AMC's hit series Mad Men seems the perfect match for an auto brand that's hungry to get back in the game after years of deteriorated relevence.
These numbers are likely what made Mad Men actor John Slatterly (who plays Sterling Cooper cofounder Roger Sterling) so attactive to Lincoln's marketers. But just like the character and his agency typically burn the candle at both ends, it makes one wonder if Lincoln hasn't been played.
First, one has to wonder if the selection of Slatterly — a distinguished and attractive man, to be sure — an off-brand choice for celeb endorsements.
Viewers might best associate him with his character — a lying, cheating, well-dressed con man, embodying all the worst stereotypes of Madison Avenue. Will potential Lincoln consumers see Slatterly's Lincoln ad as just one more of the fast-talking, believe-in-nothing ad man's campaigns?
Beyond the meta-enabled consideration of how a fictional character translates to a real commercial, there is the concern of the plot of the show itself.
You see, Don Draper, Sterling's partner, is a Cadillac man, a point well made on the show. So while Slatterly is perfectly willing to take Ford Motor money pitching the luxury of Lincoln for a minute here or a minute there, Don is driving around in a Caddy... a Caddy Sterling sent him to get, for crying out loud.
Does anyone at Ford, which owns the Lincoln brand, even watch Mad Men?
Slatterly, meanwhile, offered his take on advertising at an Ad Age conference today in New York:
"You'd think I'd know a hell of a lot about advertising but I don't know shit about advertising. To see these seminal campaigns in the way they were created, the research they put into some of those things is fascinating. David Ogilvy said you can have great creative, but if it doesn't sell product it doesn't mean shit. ... And I think good creative is as important as ever. It's more important because of the glut of advertising everywhere you turn. Whether you're at the gas pump or on the elevator, everyone is trying to sell you something. It's more difficult to get through all of that without good creative."