“A” List Of Independent Film Signs On For Lincoln Mercury Online Film Project
- Lincoln’s “LovelyBySurprise.com” and Mercury’s “TheNeverything.com” continue a successful new model of branded entertainment.
- Two distinct Web mini-series culled from a single upcoming independent film are designed to drive consumers to learn more about Lincoln Zephyr and Mercury Milan.
- Zephyr and Milan are drawing a new generation of customers to Lincoln Mercury showrooms, with conquest rates of nearly 40 percent.
- Nearly 80 percent of car buyers rely on Internet research. Broadband use in the U.S. is expected to soar from 55 percent of Internet users today to 78 percent by 2010.
DEARBORN, Mich., March 13, 2006 – Lincoln Mercury, which pioneered the use of serial Internet-based movies with its “Meet The Lucky Ones” Webisodes, is returning to the digital realm with two distinct, but interconnected stories to market the stylish Mercury Milan mid-size sedan and the new Zephyr, Lincoln ’s first entry-luxury sedan.
The first installments of the five-week Web series debut today at www.LovelyBySurprise.com and www.TheNeverything.com, bringing together stars from Oscar®-winning movies and hit television series, including “Grey’s Anatomy,” “A Beautiful Mind,” “Amistad” and “Walk the Line.” Written and directed by Kirt Gunn, they tell the story of an author whose fiction overtakes her real life. The two sides of the story (the fictional and the real) are presented on two separate Web sites – one by Lincoln, the other by Mercury.
Lincoln Mercury is harnessing the explosive growth of broadband – expected to climb from 55 percent of Internet users today to 78 percent (69 million households) by 2010 in the U.S. alone – to reach consumers with compelling online content. With more than a quarter of all Internet users watching video online every week and nearly 80 percent of car buyers relying on the Internet as their primary research tool, the Web has become a vital medium for entertainment as well as shopping.
“LovelyBySurprise.com and TheNeverything.com are each designed for a distinct audience that shares an important element with the other: a mindset that looks to the Web as a place to work, shop, and play,” said Scott Kelly, Lincoln Mercury Digital Marketing Manager. “We think people will be intrigued by the characters in the stories, and return every week to learn more – ideally clicking through to learn more about our great new Lincoln and Mercury products.”
Mercury’s “Meet The Lucky Ones” campaign increased traffic on the brand’s Web site, mercuryvehicles.com, by 400 percent. In addition, consumers clicked through to view eight pages on the site, compared to two pages historically.
Top Talent Drawn to Ground-breaking Project
In Lincoln Zephyr’s “LovelyBySurprise.com,” an author who is experiencing a bout of writer’s block turns to her mentor and former flame for advice. As the story progresses each week, viewers discover more about the conflict clouding her creative process.
Milan ’s “TheNeverything.com” introduces a series of offbeat vignettes with an independent film sensibility. Two quirky brothers lead a carefree, child-like existence in their unconventional world: a houseboat in the middle of an empty field. They know nothing about the outside world. As the story unfolds, viewers learn that one brother is drawn to discover more of what the world has to offer.
Austin Pendleton, who has appeared in films such as “A Beautiful Mind” and “Amistad,” takes on the role of the mentor in “LovelybySurprise.com.” Veteran actress Kate Burton (“Grey’s Anatomy” and “The Ice Storm”) lends her experience as his wife and Carrie Preston (“Transamerica,” “Sex and the City”) leads the cast as the gifted but stalled author. In “TheNeverything.com,” the two quirky brothers are played by Dallas Roberts (“Walk the Line”) and up-and-comer Michael Chernus.
Lincoln and Mercury, in collaboration with their agencies, Y&R and Wunderman Detroit, provided Gunn with an understanding of each brand, and then gave him and his team the creative latitude to develop these stories to resonate with Lincoln Zephyr and Mercury Milan target consumers.
“The talent involved in this project came on board because of their love of the script and the project as a whole,” said filmmaker Kirt Gunn. “Because we were given complete creative latitude, we were allowed to realize the full potential of the story. This is the very essence of independent film. It celebrates the vision of the artists, whereas more commercial movies need to respond to the producers’ interpretation of the mass market. The fact that these brands were brave enough to stand behind this project is a strong testament to their desire to reach new audiences in an unconventional and inspiring way.”
“The Neverything.com” Builds on Mercury Momentum
“Because of our real-world sales success with ‘Meet The Lucky Ones,’ we know our customer has an appreciation for the unconventional and really enjoys independent films,” said Kim Irwin, Mercury Brand Manager. “Our intent is to draw our target customers into the story. The more engaged they become, the more they will want to learn about our brand and products. We believe this audience wants to discover products on their own terms, and this allows them to do so.”
“Meet The Lucky Ones,” Mercury’s first foray into film, generated a five-fold increase in unique visitors to the brand’s Web site. It also translated into approximately 500 vehicle sales for the brand. Developed in conjunction with Gunn and Associates, the “Meet The Lucky Ones” project was named to ADWEEK’s top ten ad campaigns of 2004.
The new Milan sedan is building on Mariner’s success in drawing new customers into Mercury showrooms. More than 40 percent of buyers for the Milan to date have come from outside the Ford, Lincoln and Mercury consumer base. The average age of a Mariner buyer is now 15 years younger than the average overall Mercury customer. Twenty percent of Milan customers are under 35, and half of them are female. An emphasis on film and fashion in Milan marketing efforts has helped Mercury connect with this new consumer.
To promote “TheNeverything.com,” Mercury will tap Web sites frequented by independent movie fans, such as AOLMovieFone, Elite Street and Yahoo. Additional support will include print ads featured in Entertainment Weekly, USA Today,The New York Times Magazine and US Weekly, among others.
In addition, Mercury will run a 90-second trailer for “TheNeverything.com” in Landmark Theatres across the country, continuing its role of exclusive sponsor for the largest independent film theater chain in the United States. Mercury will offer viewers of TheNeverything.com a chance to win a 2006 Mercury Milan and a Hollywood tour vacation.
Lincoln ’s “LovelyBySurprise.com” Targets Connected Consumers
“With Lincoln ’s exciting cadence of new products coming this year, we are seeking innovative ways to capture consumers’ attention,” said Tom Grill, Lincoln Brand Manager. “We believe that creative use of the Web to disrupt perceptions of our brand is one of the best ways to appeal to our audience.”
To promote “LovelyBySurprise.com,” Lincoln will run banner ads on Web sites such as MSN, iFilm and Rotten Tomatoes. It will also run advertising in print publications, such as Premiere and Variety and offer visitors to “LovelyBySurprise.com” a chance to win a 2006 Lincoln Zephyr and a luxury vacation.
Following the brand’s successful Thanksgiving 2005 travel “Dinner and a Movie on Zephyr” effort and “Where Will Zephyr Take You?” dream vacation campaign with American Airlines, Lincoln is extending its relationship with the flight provider with 90-second film trailers for “LovelyBySurprise.com” shown on select American Airlines flights this season.
Experiential, non-traditional marketing that emphasizes the top lifestyle pursuits of up-and-coming professionals – including entertainment and travel – is helping Lincoln reach new customers. Lincoln Zephyr’s unique marketing launch has introduced new customers and celebrities alike to the brand. Its 14-city “House of Blues” concert series and drive program sparked Zephyr video appearances for several top recording artists, including Kanye West and Fall Out Boy. Nearly 40 percent of Zephyr customers have come from outside Ford, Lincoln and Mercury.
- Contact Information
- Sara Tatchio
- Manager, Lincoln Mercury Division
- Ford Motor Company
- Contact via E-mail
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