Lincoln Hedges Super Bowl Bet With Web Spots

Lincoln’s first Super Bowl ad in 10 years will entice viewers of the big game to continue the story online. The campaign launches the 2006 Mark LT luxury truck. After the commercial airs on February 6, visitors to Lincoln’s site will encounter three additional 60-second spots derived from the broadcast ad.

Both the TV and online components are the work of Lincoln’s agency, Young & Rubicam Detroit. Derek Cianfrance directed the Web-only ads. Cianfrance also directed Mercury’s well-received “Meet the Lucky Ones” viral campaign, a serialized Web site that combined video with interactive storytelling. Lincoln and Mercury are both Ford Motor Company brands.

“We know people are on the Web, looking for additional entertainment,” said Lance Paull, executive creative director for Young & Rubicam Detroit. “It’s a great media extension for the Super Bowl.”

In the TV spot, titled “Charity,” a clergyman ends his sermon to find a set of car keys in the collection plate. In the parking lot outside, he discovers a new Mark LT truck he believes has been donated by a member of his congregation. After ogling it for a few moments, his fantasy is shattered when the owner appears and explains his mischievous daughter put the keys in the plate.

As the ad ends, the clergyman places the letters “LT” on the church marquee to spell “LUST,” the topic of the following week’s sermon. At bottom of the marquee is the URL, which is registered to Lincoln and currently redirects to Lincoln’s home page. A Lincoln spokesperson confirmed the Web address will be home to a dedicated Web site for the Mark LT on Super Bowl Sunday.

Each of three online-only spots follows the theme begun in “Charity.” Several members of the church congregation stumble onto the truck in the parking lot, triggering a fantasy in which they’re driving the vehicle. Moments later, the reverie is broken when the car’s owner arrives, keys in hand, to everyone’s embarrassment.

Auto makers are paying more attention to Internet strategies. A study from J.D. Power released yesterday found consumers score car manufacturer Web sites very highly, giving them much better ratings across the board than they earned two and three years ago. Auto companies’ attentiveness to site design no doubt owes something to the growing number of referrals through interactive channels. Nine percent of Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury dealer referrals last year came through FordDirect, a Ford-operated online research site for in-market consumers.

Lincoln plans to launch five new models in the next four years.

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