McConaughey silently pitches ’17 Lincoln MKZ in new ads

Michael Wayland
The Detroit News

What’s it like to drive a 2017 Lincoln MKZ?

According to actor and Lincoln brand rep Matthew McConaughey, it’s like a hot shave from a barber with a straight razor; listening to a jazz ensemble; and jumping into a pool at midnight with your tailor-made suit on.

Those are the scenarios the Academy Award-winning actor finds himself in for Lincoln’s new ad campaign for the luxury midsize sedan. The ads will begin airing Monday on prime-time hits such as “Dancing With the Stars,” “Castle” and “The Voice.”

The 30-second spots — “Shave,” “Ensemble” and “Midnight” — debut the “It’s like that” tagline as well as “The exhilarating new Lincoln MKZ.” Both are featured at the end of each ad.

All three of the ads feature McConaughey spliced with shots of the vehicle, as each situation reminds him of driving the MKZ, which is arriving in dealerships. McConaughey appears in the ads but doesn’t say a word — a tactic from ads last year for the Lincoln MKX crossover.

Jon Pearce, chief creative officer of Hudson Rouge, Lincoln’s agency of record that created the ads, said each is meant to convey or express the “ ‘It’s like that’ moment” of exhilaration, precision and performance.

In “Shave,” a barber ends the shave with a steaming hot towel before the screen cuts to an MKZ driving through the fog on a winding road. Every action is spliced with McConaughey driving the car.

The same style of ad is used in “Midnight,” as McConaughey leaps backward into a pool. The moment he hits the water, we see the new 2017 Lincoln MKZ accelerating out of a dark tunnel and into a rainy night.

“Ensemble” strays from the feeling of the other two ads, as it starts with a jazz ensemble playing a cover of “Midnight Rider.” The camera slowly zooms out and the viewers see the performance through the grille of the MKZ, before McConaughey driving the car as the music continues.

The newest spots mark the fifth series of Lincoln ads since 2014, when McConaughey signed a two-year deal with the Ford Motor Co. luxury brand to promote Lincoln. His quirky commercials have generated buzz and elicited parodies from late-night television shows.

Lincoln sales this year are up 17.1 percent through April to nearly 35,000 vehicles sold in the United States.

McConaughey also helped the brand unveil a concept of the Lincoln Navigator SUV Concept with gull-wing doors earlier this year at the New York International Auto Show.

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