A Lincoln Continental TV Commercial Arrived In My Mailbox
Updated: May 31, 2019
Receiving any dealership or car related mail these days can be typically underwhelming. Which is why the recent mailer sent by Lincoln to Jim's father-in-law, Tom, caused us to take notice and draw attention to the method employed. We appreciate Tom letting us borrow the "gift" he received to take a closer look.
To begin, let's recognize that Lincoln unveiled its 2017 Continental earlier this year at the Detroit Auto Show. The exterior and interior have been photographed and written by many already. The design cues have borrowed from Lincolns of the past, and perhaps a former Ford Motor Company brand, Jaguar, as well, a story for another post. These elements are then blended into a car Lincoln would aim to market to higher income buyers. Lincoln used a form of technology to promote this new vehicle to that audience.
What was delivered
An 'invitation' mailer from Lincoln, sent through the US Postal Service, begins with what would seem like a package filled with glossy reading material, which it does have of course.
What lies beneath this glossy pamphlet was something of a surprise. In what looks like a larger booklet is actually a video display with a commercial on loop set to play as soon as the recipient presses the play button.
How it was received
This mailer obviously cost quite a bit of money to produce and distribute to who knows how many people, though Tom would like to think it was made just for him. There had to be an evaluation of who would receive it and what would be the "conversion" rate to at least take a trip to the nearest Lincoln dealer, and further actually sign papers to purchase a Continental. But, for most the question would be asked, what does someone do with this mailer now, and what is the environmentally conscious way to dispose of it? There is a charging cable included in the packaging to be able to recharge the battery and re-enjoy the single video commercial on loop. Of course there are short interview clips from various folks who influenced the engineering and design of the new Continental, which may offer soundbites worth repeating.
It does make our minds reflect on whether any other brand has mailed a video commercial in a box to prospective customers? None came to mind. Does it raise the brand's prestige or simply awareness of this new vehicle in the market? Sure. Does it leverage the legacy and heritage of previous Continentals? Not really, which for us at AutomotiveEssence.com is a lesson worth examining. It does make our minds wander outside of the automotive industry to consumer electronics, in particular Apple as cliche as that may sound.
Jim is an avid viewer of the Apple announcement events and tunes in to hear the latest in all things Apple regularly. The anticipation of these events, due in large part to the high quality products with leading design that have created a huge following, successfully draws a captive audience for Apple. It may also help that Lincoln is not in the business of personal video electronics, and Apple would never consider mailing a display device to promote their display devices, but Lincoln might want to try engaging new customers with a device. During these Apple events there are short videos that are somewhat similar to what Lincoln is attempting here, describing the product in great detail and expressive description. I suppose it is better than a post card or even well packaged glossy card that says "We invite you to check out our newest vehicle and watch the video at the following link" which would require finding a device for viewing said video.
What could have been better
Auto shows vary greatly around the globe from the anticipated events such as Detroit, LA, Frankfurt, and Tokyo, to name a few where automakers reveal their latest concepts and new releases. Then there are other auto shows like Atlanta, Tulsa, Dallas, and Seattle to name a few which are convenient for folks who live nearby to see a lot of vehicles under one roof on the same day, but are not places that the automakers put great effort (or any inspiration at all) to make special for announcements of their vehicles or for attendees in general. What would car enthusiasts who don't live near Detroit, LA, Frankfurt, or Tokyo do if they wanted to experience the big reveals that automakers invest so much at a handful of shows? What do auto shows have to do with the Lincoln Continental mailer depicted above anyway?
Could Lincoln have televised the launch of the new Continental at the Detroit auto show through their website, like Apple revealed the iPhone 7 this week on their own website, in order for Lincoln enthusiasts and prospective buyers to become engaged in real-time? A televised event in our opinion would be much more engaging. An invitation to view the event live would be more personal, they already had the name and address of where to send the packaged display. An event of any kind even if viewed from a distance might have been more anticipated and a sunk cost that would be very marginal to invite others to view remotely. The recorded presentation could even be available for viewers not able to attend in real-time. Viewer invitation codes could welcome attendees in a personalized way on the screen and identify absentees for research and marketing purposes. This is just a thought for Lincoln to consider that might provide a helpful perspective in the future.
The video was a unique touch that successfully provided more information on the rebirth of a Lincoln model. We're also glad to see Lincoln going back to "named" vehicles steering away from the confusing acronym vehicle names starting with "MK". The Continental is a turn in the right direction for Lincoln and the Continental commercial in the mailbox is hopefully a sign of new ways to engage with prospective Lincoln buyers.
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Jared & Jim
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