How might we transform an old-fashioned gas guzzler feel artsy to approach a new breed of potential luxury buyers?

Won the 2014 Gold SABRE Award for the Lincoln MKZ Launch in Korea.


The Challenge

The global Lincoln brand has been reinventing itself to become a world-class luxury brand with compelling vehicles and an exceptional, highly personal ownership experience to match. In particular, the All-New MKZ play was born to be a crucial role for Lincoln’s reinvention among young generations when it was officially launched in Korea in May, 2013. However, Lincoln brand used to be identified as an old-fashioned brand among Korean millennials and many customers believed that U.S.-brand cars are gas guzzlers. In 2013, Lincoln Korea had represented approximately 25 percent of Ford’s sluggish annual sales. Lincoln had to be a key part of Ford’s sales strategy in Korea and needed to change perception to effectively speak to a new breed of luxury buyers. Thus, the team requested to create a stronger brand identity to resonate with younger generations and make a growth engine for Lincoln Korea.

The Insight

There is no better way to truly empathize and understand our friends’ desires and opinions on a given subject by asking questions directly. Interviewees included young entrepreneurs in various fields, freelancers, young professionals and graduate students. Based on the ethnographic research on targeted groups, which later named Urban Achievers – higher-income urban professionals with sophisticated tastes, key insights were identified as the following:

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  • Urban Achiever’s gender ratio is 50:50

  • Urban Achiever tends to drink wine and hard liquor over beer

  • Urban Achiever enjoys occasional casual gatherings with friends and family

  • Urban Achiever actively engages with the arts, trendy performances to connect to their social groups

Based on the insights gathered, the following questions arose:

  • How might we building conversations that the Lincoln brand could start beyond talking about its products?

  • How might we consolidate Lincoln brand as a strong supporter of the arts to resonate well with Urban Achievers?

  • How might we generate massive online buzz for the All-New Lincoln MKZ as well as grant Urban Achievers a unique first-hand experience with the products?

The Solution

The All-New 2013 Lincoln MKZ should mark a key milestone in Lincoln’s reinvention, representing the approachable sophistication of Lincoln in both elegant style and sensational substance.

An art exhibition-themed launching event called 'ART by MKZ' was held at the Beyond Museum for 3 days. Eight renowned Korean artists including: Kim Nam-pyo, Kim Taek-ki, Yoon Doo- jin, Jang Seung-hyo, Jung Sang-hyup, Choi Myung-won, and Kim Dong-ju participated in the art exhibition. Under the theme "so different, so attractive," the artwork reflects Lincoln‘s design values—progress and sensation, contrast, and coexistence of the past and present— from different fields, such as painting, multi-media art, and installation art.


An Interactive Virtual Gallery | Design and App Development by June Kang

An Interactive Virtual Gallery | Design and App Development by June Kang

An Interactive Virtual Gallery | Design and App Development by June Kang

An Interactive Virtual Gallery | Design and App Development by June Kang


Moreover, in order to maximize social buzz and to highlight new Lincoln brand initiative, a couple of social media via the Lincoln Korea official Facebook page was implemented. In particular, an interactive Facebook app that showed the artists' art pieces was launched to directly speak to target audiences.

The Impact

All of those activities resulted in increase of 3,798 new followers for only 16 days, reaching a total of 35,440 followers. Moreover, a total of 127 journalists from 91 media participated during the event: 22 from general and economic daily, 2 from broadcast, 24 from online, 26 from online and 17 from lifestyle magazine. Moreover, 87 media covered a total of 194 articles regarding the All-New Lincoln MKZ launch. Lastly, 19 articles were generated from the top-tier media including Chosun Ilbo, JoongAng Ilbo, DongA Ilbo, Korea Times, Korea Herald, Maeil Business Newspaper, Financial News and MBC.

"This art exhibition defines innovation. The combination between artists and an auto brand represents a fresh yet elegant approach in the name of Ford and Lincoln. To me, it was refreshing and I hope to see more of this type of event in the near future."

– Jinsik Song, Journalist @Kyunghyang