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When It Comes To #Branding, Cars Still Come First

Matthew McConaughey at Lincoln Navigator reveal in New York, Image: ? 2016 Bark M./The Truth About Cars

I still remember it as being though it were the other day. My father, nearly the identical age that I am today, pulling up in to the driveway of our suv home in his brand new company car just slowly enough for everybody in the neighborhood to see.

As a cherubic five?year old, We looked down from the window of the bedroom that I shared with my personal older brother, sensation the same sort of excitement that I normally restricted to things like the very couple of Christmas mornings which i had experienced so far. Not because I was necessarily that thrilled, mind you, but because everybody else in the house had been. The buzz was palpable. My father was bringing home the vehicle that signified that his new placement as the president of the brokerage firm, the car that just about everybody in the early 1980s said was their own dream car.

What had been the dream vehicle in question? If you were in existence in 1983, you already know. It was the Lincoln Town Car, resplendent in the color of a Carolina sky?that my ever politically correct mother nicknamed “Polack Azure.” To own a Town Vehicle in the time of?Perestroika was to let everybody else realize that you were somebody. That you had?made it.?

Now? The Lincoln subsequently Motor Company is attempting to bring back some of which panache with their Dark Label sub-brand?-?as well as they’ve been attempting for two-plus years.?Like a nearly literal long term Lincoln fan, I’michael unprofessionally rooting for them to understand it properly. Unfortunately, in the middle of all of the #branding #luxury #marketing that Lincoln is doing surrounding this concept, they appear to have forgotten one thing.

If you have a memory (or even hell, a life span) long enough to identify with the pride that my personal entire family had on my dad’s arrival with that Town Vehicle, you probably also remember exactly what the world was such as during that time. If this came to mainstream luxury cars in the ’80s, there were exactly three brands that mattered: Cadillac, Mercedes, and Lincoln subsequently. BMW was still messing around with squarish low-powered vehicles, and Audi was being crucified by the public for that decade’s unintended acceleration scandal. Jaguar was plagued with reliability issues.?Lexus, Infiniti, and Acura didn’t can be found.

In fact, it could be said that the closest thing to an extravagance competitor that Lincoln and Cadillac faced could be found in the same showrooms – Mercury, in the case of Lincoln, and Buick, all the way down the aisle from Caddy. Choices were few and far between for the aspiring, upwardly mobile professional. I specifically remember a poll being used at the?time which asked what the average American considered to be their dream car, and also the responses were divided between Ferrari Testarossa as well as Lincoln Town Car. I kid explore.

Fast forward to 2016, and Lincoln faces a bit of an identification crisis. This isn’t breaking news.?Actually, even though I lust following a certified EcoBoost MKS in Espresso (I think it’s the best used car value on the market today, and I’d nearly be surprised if I don’capital t buy one when the Closed fist lease is up) the actual name “Lincoln” just doesn’capital t carry the same weight that it once did. Things i think everybody understands, even morons on the internet who say things like “MKTauruS” and think they’lso are being insightful, is the fact that Lincoln needs, nicely …?

The Navigator Concept revealed at the New York International Auto Show was a step in the right path. Yes, it’s showy. Yes, those gullwing doors and extended risers are ridiculous. And no, these people won’t make it to manufacturing. But along with the Ls (yes, I wanted it to have a V8, too), Lincoln is generating a few real buzz for the first time within God-knows-how-long.

So I want the Black Label idea to make sense. Really. I love the idea of the “themed” interiors. I love the worry-free service experience it?provides. The actual Black Label display rooms themselves are gorgeous. I was recently a visitor to a Detroit-area Black Label dealer, and the experience the Black Label customer will receive is easily equivalent or superior to the knowledge provided by?any Lexus store.

Alexia from Fellow Barber stands with Bark M., Image: ? 2016 Nilo Salmasi/The Truth About Cars

Lincoln was type enough to pick me up from the Javits Center and take me to Fellow Barber, a Black Label companion, for a haircut and a shave from the lovely and talented Alexia. The lady gave me a wonderful haircut, a better facial hair appear, and she even pretended that my French had been passable. All Black Label customers in NYC can take advantage of this service via April, as well as custom menu items through upscale restaurants across America. With Black Label, Lincoln has gotten all of the ancillary stuff right, no question.

But there’utes one thing missing: vehicles. You can’t make a brand premium with out offering a premium product. The MKZ, MKX, and MKC simply aren’t premium vehicles, no matter how much theming you allow them. Even the kind gentleman who selected me up as well as dropped me back off in an MKX complained it just felt small and cramped in the driver’s seat, a problem which has plagued the MKS in the get-go. Also, I hate to be this guy – really, I actually do?-?but I can’capital t stop seeing Blend, Edge, and Escape when I walk into Lincoln showrooms. And the equivalent Fords are just so good on their own that, in some ways, it could be said that the Lincoln subsequently brand actually diminishes?its own choices.

So what does Lincoln desire to make Black Label more than just a concept or a hashtag? They require real Lexus and BMW competitors. They require some rear-wheel drive. They need a genuinely fucking fast car –?I mean, come on, you can make a Lincoln Escape but you can’t make a Lincoln Mustang? We just about all want one. Just put four doors around the damn thing as well as call it a day. Maybe you wouldn’capital t sell a lot of them, but wouldn’t a Black Label four-door Shelby GT350 equivalent, with pimped-out African blackwood (whoops, I didn’capital t mean to bring up Blackwood, Lincoln) trim as well as red interior be straight-up baller?

?you can call it Black Label. Then you can take some big, bad, flat-crank 550-horsepower four door with rear-wheel drive?(company, maybe even a V-8), allow it to be premium as hell inside, and build Dark Label cars the world envies. Why not make Black Label a genuine M or AMG competitor? Make it a legitimate alternative to an E63 or M5. Make it powerful. Make it United states. Make it a goddamned Lincoln.

Then, someday, when I become Leader of TTAC (not going to happen), I can feel just as proud driving of my new Lincoln Black Label MKBADAZZ as my dad do bringing that Town Car home more than 30?years ago. Seriously, Lincoln. You can do it. For me? Please?

Lincoln provided a really good haircut,?a style session with LeBron James’ personal stylist, some locks products, and personalized stationery, as well as a trip around Manhattan in a Lincoln MKX.

[Images: ? 2016 Bark Michael. and Nilo Salmasi/The Truth Regarding Cars]

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