Today is President’s Day. If you forgot, shame on you! Nonetheless, we still have classes, work, and our daily scheduled lives to follow, unless you are a government employee-lucky you. Today we honor the 44 presidents that hold the highest and most honorable position in our country since George Washington became the first president. We annually celebrate all of the presidents on the third Monday of February, ironically not George Washington’s actual birthday. The president is viewed with respect, dignity, and, arguably, honesty, which has made present and past candidates ideal endorsers of products and services. This week we are focusing on the use of presidents in popular culture and advertising.
There are many advertisements that have used presidential figures in their advertisements and commercials over the years; however, we selected a commercial promoting the 2013 Lincoln MKZ featuring Abraham Lincoln, with brief pictures of other presidents, titled ‘Moving Forward.’ Over the past few years, the Lincoln Motor Company introduced advertisements that emphasize their American patriotism and pride in their luxury brand. Choosing honest Abe is congruent with and positively modifies the Lincoln brand. The motto, “Moving Forward,” is obviously a reference to the ideas associated with Abraham Lincoln and the influence he had in American history, but, according to Forbes, the MKZ is a rebranding effort by Lincoln to reach a younger demographic with a higher household income. They provide Abraham Lincoln a revitalized and 21st century appearance, in contrast with the old, dusty, and aged images we are accustomed to seeing of our founding fathers.
The Lincoln Motor Company’s commercial with Abraham Lincoln and the MKZ is a perfect portrayal of McCracken’s Meaning Transfer Model (1989). This model emphasizes that consumers associate the qualities of a celebrity, in this case Honest Abe, with the qualities of a product or brand. Thus in the case of the MKZ, the emphasis is on rebranding Lincoln as the pinnacle luxury car brand in the United States. This commercial also portrays their Lincoln MKZ as a continuous evolution of high end vehicles breaking the barrier of their target market and capturing the attention of a younger demographic. Aside from the Lincoln Motor Company and Abraham Lincoln having the same name, McCracken stresses concurrency. The Lincoln Motor Company’s commercial portrays the company as a luxury brand willing to focus on one aspect, moving forward. This is congruent with Abraham Lincoln’s willingness to abolish slavery and unification of the North and South into one nation.
Have you noticed any other brands using presidents in their advertisements in the media lately?
-Colby Cummings, Connor Gold, Chase Seymour