August 21, 2014 at 8:00 am

Oscar-winning actor McConaughey to pitch Ford's Lincoln brand

McConaughey becomes pitchman for Lincoln Motor Co.
McConaughey becomes pitchman for Lincoln Motor Co.: Actor Matthew McConaughey talks about his new partnership with the automaker

Lincoln Motor Co. is tapping Oscar-winning actor Matthew McConaughey to help transform the company and reach a broader audience.

Ford Motor Co.’s luxury brand, which has struggled with sales and delayed introductions in recent years, said Thursday it’s partnering with McConaughey on a two-year deal that will feature the actor in a number of television and digital ads.

Lincoln did not release financial figures of the deal, and said it was too early to discuss the number of spots McConaughey would appear in. The first ads — which begin airing in September — will be centered on the all-new 2015 MKC compact crossover, which will soon hit dealer lots.

“Matthew is a natural fit with Lincoln and where we are going as a brand,” Matt VanDyke, director, global Lincoln, said in a statement. “The transformation of Lincoln is well under way. With the MKC coming to market in a hot, competitive segment, now is the perfect opportunity to share to a wider audience what our brand offers. Matthew is the ideal personality to help us tell this story, and it is only the beginning of what we trust will be a fantastic relationship.”

Lincoln said McConaughey will “act as a storyteller” in the spots.

“He’s not just here to be showcased in a TV spot, we want to have a strong and authentic partnership with him,” said Stephane Cesareo, Lincoln’s communications manager. “It cannot be anyone else.”

McConaughey won his Oscar for last year’s “Dallas Buyers Club.” He has appeared in popular films like “Magic Mike” and “The Wolf of Wall Street,” as well as HBO’s “True Detective.”

“Authenticity is a word that kept coming up in our initial meetings,” McConaughey said in a statement. “It was clear from the start they appreciated me as an individual first and foremost, and I would be able to be myself in this collaboration. Lincoln is an iconic, American brand and I like where they are heading with their transformation. I had the chance to drive the new MKC around Texas and I think they’re doing a good job.”

The high-profile collaboration is the latest in Ford’s efforts to revive the struggling brand.

In his first major move since becoming CEO, Mark Fields in July appointed Kumar Galhotra to lead Lincoln. The job had previously belonged to Jim Farley, Ford’s executive vice president of marketing, sales and service.

Fields said the move showed that Ford was “serious about Lincoln as a world-class luxury brand.”

Earlier this year, Ford launched the all-new Lincoln MKZ sedan, and it has sold more than 21,000 since the start of the year. In addition to the MKZ and MKC, Lincoln plans to introduce two more new vehicles by 2016.

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