“Why do I drive a Lincoln? Why does anyone do anything?” intones Jim Carrey, as he channels Matthew McConaughey in the Saturday Night Live version of the now frequently lampooned Lincoln MKC commercials.
In case you might have missed the Internet hubbub, the original “Intro” commercial that the SNL parody starts with shows McConaughey almost sleep-driving his way down dark city streets, lights glittering in the background as he rambles on philosophically in a soothing drawl, making pronouncements such as “Sometimes you gotta go back to actually move forward.” He’s also absentmindedly twiddling his right thumb and forefinger in mid-air as moody, pensive piano chords punctuate an otherwise quiet night’s drive.
The campaign hashtag? #InTheMoment. Questions we may be asking ourselves after watching the first spot? Where is Lincoln going with this campaign? Turns out, the intro was just the first spot in the “In the Moment” trifecta, designed to appeal emotionally to viewers through McConaughey’s ongoing dialogue.
In the final spot, aptly parodied by Ellen, McConaughey and his trusty MKC come to a dead stop, in the middle of a large highway. He’s finger twiddling again, as he contemplates a large bull occupying the highway who doesn’t appear to want to move anytime soon. “That’s a big bull,” McConaughey drawls, noting the obvious. “1800 pounds of do whatever the heck I want.” The music takes a slightly contemplative, Eastern turn. Where is Tarantino when we need him? McConaughey thanks the bull (named Cyrus) and does a U-turn. What are we to make of all this? And what was McConaughey thinking when he agreed to star in these spots?
Since his naked bongo drum-playing, Dazed and Confused days, McConaughey has come a long way. He’s evolved into a serious actor, with a standout, Oscar-winning performance as former rodeo rider-turned-activist Ron Woodroof in the Dallas Buyers Club. And he’s taking another star turn in Interstellar, now playing in theaters practically everywhere. In light of McConaughey’s growing stature as a serious actor, this campaign seems a slightly mystifying turn. But then he’s an Oscar winner, about 160 or so pounds of do-whatever-the heck-he wants.
Whatever McConaughey’s and Lincoln’s reasoning, the snark and subsequent parodies have helped drive a healthy increase in sales. Sales of the MKC leapt from 1,763 units in September to 2,197 in October — after the McConaughey commercials and their multiple parodies began airing. Are the commercials crazy? Well, perhaps, but given their sales figures, Lincoln may just be crazy like a fox.