The tens of readers who observe my bleatings right here on TTAC (Hello, Dad!) might recall my fondness for the Lincoln model. Having spent my very own hard-earned Canadian on two of them, plus encouraging different relations to do the identical, I might be mendacity if I mentioned I’m not rooting for the model to as soon as once more plant its toes firmly within the minds of its goal demographic.
For me, the disarmament marketing campaign began when Lincoln started abandoning actual names in favor of an alphanumeric (minus the numeric) naming scheme. Seems, after studying a revealing Automotive Information interview with Lincoln’s advertising and marketing chief, I’m not the one one who disliked it.
In response to the report, Robert Parker, advertising and marketing honcho at Lincoln Motor Firm, acquired validation for the choice to introduce the Nautilus nameplate effectively earlier than its look at this 12 months’s L.A. Auto Present.
In a wonderful little bit of storytelling, Parker relates the story of being on an airport shuttle ferrying passengers from a terminal to a parking zone. Seated close to him was a husband and spouse couple who had been making an attempt to inform the shuttle driver what sort of automobile they owned. You may most likely guess the place this story is headed.
When requested what sort of automobile they owned, the couple received right into a little bit of a row. Why? They apparently owned a Lincoln, however couldn’t agree on what it was referred to as. One insisted it was an MKC whereas the opposite was steadfast of their perception it was an MKZ. For Parker, this cemented the choice to desert the MKWhatever nomenclature.
“It simply actually punctuated the problem for me,” Parker mentioned. “It was like, OK, it’s not simply an inner dialogue. That is actual. Folks that don’t work and do that on daily basis have a tough time with numbers and letters. We typically, as entrepreneurs, get just a little too far over our skis.”
And there it’s, of us. An admission from the highest that the Lincoln three-letter system didn’t work. As a fan of the model, I’m very gratified to lastly write these phrases.
The entire MK branding began in 2006 as an try to reference the model’s previous successes. Its first two letters had been supposed to be pronounced “Mark,” adopted by the third consonant. For this reason I at all times referred to ex-CEO Mark Fields as MKF.
Closing out the interview, Parker had yet one more gem to disclose, referencing Ford’s penchant for naming all automobiles with “F” monikers (Focus, 5 Hundred, Fiesta, Fusion) whereas bestowing sport-utes with “E” labels (Explorer, Edge, Escape, Expedition, Tour), and the way that pattern won’t prolong to Lincoln.
“That individual’s retired,” Parker mentioned, referring to a former government. “All of us liked him, however he was sort of caught on E’s and F’s.”
I really don’t assume that exec was Alan Mulally, on condition that he wasted no time biffing the moronic and meaningless 5 Hundred nameplate in favor of the Taurus badge. Throwing away all that identify recognition, he argued, made no sense. He was right.
Nor do I feel that Mark Fields was the offender, as a result of the time frames don’t fairly align. No, I feel the blame for all these E’s and F’s rests squarely on the toes of J Mays, designer extraordinaire who changed Jack Telnack in ’97 and retired on the finish of 2013.
Answerable for the ’05 Mustang, the GT, and the weirdo retro Thunderbird, Mays at all times appeared to be effectively preferred within the trade and was actually a talented designer. He did, nevertheless, as soon as command the designers in any respect of Ford’s marques to create automobile keys that mirrored the “emotional qualities” of every model. Fixating on alliteration wouldn’t be a bridge too far, methinks.
Anyhow, I’m simply glad Lincoln’s ditched the MK nonsense. Any wagers on what they’ll name the remainder of their lineup? I’m jockeying for a return to Zephyr for the MKZ, Aviator for the MKC, and Quasimodo for the MKT.
[Image: Ford Motor Company]