Lincoln Motor Company “Concierge” Commercial: Let’s Get Personal [The Ad Section]

Lincoln Motor Company “Concierge” Commercial: Let’s Get Personal [The Ad Section]

When the Lincoln Motor Company was reinvented last year, the decision was made to elevate the buying experience by allowing prospects to use a “concierge” to do heavy pre-purchase lifting, including answering questions about product features, collecting and forwarding relevant multimedia articles, and arranging for a test drive. The idea was to emulate the experience that target prospects are accustomed to at upscale hotels, where the concierge can arrange dinner reservations and spa appointments, procure theater tickets, and show one’s wife where to find the really expensive stores. Essentially, it’s a stunt designed to underline a commitment to deliver unparalleled personalized customer service, but Lincoln feels it’s so important that it has dedicated two commercials to it, of which this is one.

This particular spot (here’s the other) opens on a smartly tailored woman eating lunch when a new MKX turns the corner and drives past the restaurant. She immediately notices it (perhaps because it’s the only vehicle on the entire street?) and grabs her cell phone, presumably to tweet “eating baby arugula salad and saw super-sweet SUV but I have no freakin’ idea what it was/what kind of gas mileage it gets/how to test drive” or a different 140 characters of share-worthy news. Who magically appears but a nice looking young man, who read either her tweet or her mind. He introduces himself as her Lincoln concierge, tells her the make and model and EPA estimated mileage and then disappears. But not to worry; moments later we see the same woman in her luxe apartment, seated on a couch with her companion, FaceTiming with her new BFF to set up a test drive. How easy was that?

Intrigued, I went to as the commercial suggested, to not only learn more about these concierges but to connect with one via the chat option. I observed to her (her name was Marilou) that it seemed to me that a dealer can do everything the concierge can do, excepting being available 24/7. Here’s her response: “You are correct, the dealer can also do that. But we are here because some people do not like dealing directly with the dealer, so we are the middle man.” I asked her if that meant she would negotiate on my behalf and she advised, “We do not discuss pricing. All pricing is discussed at the dealership.” Well, could she arrange for a test drive at my home? Nope—have to go to the dealership. So I called my local dealer and asked him why I should do my shopping via concierge and he tactfully replied that it’s “a service that some people like.” So it’s basically a gimmick.

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4th GearBottom line? The entire concierge initiative may well be a waste of Lincoln’s time and money, but that’s not the copywriter’s concern: His or her job is to communicate the program’s existence and tell prospects how to access it. I think the commercial does that, even though I personally feel there’s something a little creepy and stalker-like about how the concierge is portrayed and appears out of thin air. But here’s the thing that puzzles me: Lincoln is going after younger, hipper buyers who are likely to be tech-savvy enough to do their own research and competent enough to make their own test-drive appointment. The concierge concept seems better suited to an older, computer-phobic buyer who doesn’t know a search engine from a fire engine and isn’t quite sure how to arrange for a test drive. You know, the type who bought Lincoln Town Cars.

Award-winning ad man-cum-auto journalist Don Klein knows a good (or bad) car commercial when he sees one; the Ad Section is his space to tell you what he thinks of the latest spots. The ad’s rating is depicted via the shift pattern at the bottom, but everyone has an opinion when it comes to advertising, so hit Backfires below and tell us what you think, too.

Lincoln Motor Company “Concierge” Commercial: Let’s Get Personal [The Ad Section]

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