secretly want this
In 2014 the Lincoln car company released some TV advertisements featuring Matthew McConaughey.
They were given a lot of attention, supposedly because they were so odd. The adverts featured Matthew driving around, doing nothing, and trying to sound ‘deep’.
The adverts struck a cord with pop culture. Parody is arguably the highest form of flattery. Many people claimed they didn’t ‘get’ the ads, and therefore the bizarreness of the adverts was ripe for parody, including a memorable 3-parter by Jim Carrey on SNL (which he pitched himself according to interviews)
And this piece by Ellen.
On the off chance you’ve never seen the original Matthew adverts - here is one.
Lincoln just released two more adverts. So, now is a great time to talk about the series of adverts overall, and who they are targeting.
A basic truth of advertising is that advertising knows you better than you know yourself. Advertising teaches you not what to want, but HOW to want.
The Lincoln adverts are for a very specific type of person. Who is that person?
First - What’s happening in the commercial?
Matthew is smooth, confident, good-looking, driving around to nowhere.
He’s not babbling. He is voicing deep philosophical thoughts. He’s not like everyone else. He’s no phony. He takes risks, he’s in touch with his youth, but wise enough by age to no longer act a fool.
You know this, because of his confident nonchalant demeanor and his deep thoughts.
So who is that targeting?
Matthew isn’t defined. He’s driving with no destination. No goal.
But he’s still moving.
What this is really communicating is - he’s not defined by his job, his kids, his family, his wife, his house, his mortgage, his 401k.
Those things aren’t who he really is.
You see, because he is moving, but not toward a goal, his possibilities are therefore INFINITE. (just like yours were when you were young and didn’t have all that defining baggage)
Matthew’s possibilities, via motion and a LACK of direction, are INFINITE. He could be going anywhere, to do anything. The world is his oyster. He’s off on an adventure. Unplanned. Spontaneous. No baggage.
These infinite possibilities are what is DESIRED by the middle-aged gen-exers in the middle of a mid-life crisis + unhappy workers + unhappy parents that the advert is targeting.
All those parents you see in their 30’s and 40’s. Who seem totally uninterested (if not outright annoyed) by their children and spouses?
Those people who blame the kids and the spouse because their life isn’t where they thought it would be when they were 20?
“If only I didn’t have kids I’d be ___________ “
“If only I didn’t have this spouse breathing down my neck I’d be _________________”
You know those kinds of people?
That’s who the Lincoln advert is for.
Boom. Truth bomb.
Somebody get Ellen on the line, she’s gotta parody this properly.