When the first batch of Lincoln ads featuring Matthew McConaughey came out, they were met with snickers and scratched heads. Among the many spoofs that were made about them, Jim Carrey’s SNL skit brought up a real point.
Why would someone follow up their Oscar winning performance by doing a car commercial?
Now that the second batch of ads have come out, we can officially go against the grain and say that this is brilliant for both Lincoln and for McConaughey. It may sound like a stretch, but one must understand the psychology of both the automotive industry and Hollywood to see why this match makes perfect sense.
From Lincoln’s perspective, they needed something to bring them back into relevance. While their parent company, Ford, has done a very nice job of embracing social media and were early adopters of the various platforms, Lincoln lagged behind. On YouTube, a look at all of the dozens of uploads they posted to their official channel this year showed most received thousands of views. A few reached tens of thousands. Some reached hundreds.
The MKC “Bull” commercial received over 2 million views alone.
People are talking about them. Talk shows are making parodies. Many are poking fun at them, but behind all of this, Lincoln is getting more exposure for their line of vehicles than they’ve even remotely imagined in recent years. People are seeing their cars and SUVs. It has an effect.
McConaughey has successfully shed his muscular pretty boy image in recent years. It wasn’t just his Oscar performance in Dallas Buyers Club. He has put together a string of great performances in critically acclaimed productions that include Interstellar, True Detective, and Mud. Why would he do car commercials? Did he need the money? Is his agent on drugs? Does Lincoln have blackmail material on him?
The truth is that there’s no conspiracy at all. In the long term, this is a great thing for his career. He has had a history of quirkiness that is a notch above the oddities of Leonardo DiCaprio and a few notches below Tom Cruise. That combined with his general attitude have given him a reputation of being a down-to-earth member of the Hollywood inner circle.
As a result, these commercials have a grounding effect as his career starts to electrify. It’s like rebooting a smartphone – clear out the memory, close out the apps, and get back to work. In essence, it keeps him from going down a road of being too serious, a stigma that can negatively affect careers in Hollywood after an Oscar win…
…or maybe we’re overthinking it and he was just having fun. Regardless, here’s his latest clip of deep thoughts:
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