Finding Inspiration in the Most Interesting of Places

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It can be a tricky thing, inspiration.

It’s the brief moment responsible for the opening line of the manuscript you’ve been pining to write. It’s the singular spark that conceives an ecosystem of creative concepts brawny enough to move mountains. Or it could simply be what encourages you to prepare an incredible three-course meal after today’s back-to-back-to-back meeting schedule.

But, inspiration can also be fleeting. We grasp onto these quick thoughts, these seemingly innocuous ideas that tremble our cerebral cortex, and then attempt to decipher them and unwrap them to find deeper, more expressive meaning within.

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When we sat down to develop ideas for an iconic commercial designed to reintroduce the Lincoln Motor Company to the world, we dug deep into our past to help inform our future. You could say that inspiration, that day, was in full swing.

We began with the man Lincoln was named for, the sixteenth President of the United States and our founder’s favorite, Abraham Lincoln. His insistence on doing what others weren’t was what helped him stand apart—an idea so deeply interwoven into the fabric of Lincoln that we’d be nowhere today without it.

Though Honest Abe wasn’t our only inspiration drawn from the Oval Office. In fact, our presidential precedence stems from a long history of chauffeuring our nation’s leaders, from the Lincoln V12 “Sunshine Special” favored by Roosevelt to various stretched and heavily armored Lincoln Continental Executive Limousines for a storied list of Presidents.

Throughout history, Lincoln motorcars have been what people of great means and social status have chosen to drive, from Hollywood legend, Clark Gable, and his beautiful 1939 Lincoln Zephyr to a “Rat Pack” favorite, the Lincoln Continental. The more we uncovered of Lincoln owners and the historical Lincoln cars they drove, the more inspired we became by their unquestionable cool factor—helping to ultimately set the mood and tone for our brand’s great commercial revival.

After our extensive peek into the back stacks of the Lincoln archive, we popped into the new Lincoln Design Studio where we found Max Wolff, Lincoln Design Director and Soo Kang, Lead Interior Designer for the all-new 2013 Lincoln MKZ.

When pressed for details about the design inspirations for the airy, somewhat biomorphic MKZ interior, Kang revealed a very beautiful manta ray she had sketched early in the car’s development. She went into great detail about how she had been so inspired by its graceful underwater flight, that she began incorporating its form into the dramatic sweep of the car’s instrument panel. Wolff, on the other hand, was quick to point out that an eagle’s expansive wingspan helped the team define the split-wing grille highlighting the MKZ fascia—a contemporary reinterpretation of the classic Lincoln “face.” It was at that very moment that we realized how imperative it would be to recreate their inspired vision of the Lincoln DNA in an incredibly cinematic way.

Not to be overshadowed by the designers’ work, we felt the Lincoln launch spot needed a quaint nod to the engineering team as well. The 1940 Lincoln Zephyr and its advanced unit-body construction, and the iconic coach doors that afforded the ‘61 Continental the distinction of being the first B-pillar-less 4-door car paved the way for continued Lincoln innovations.

A modern innovation such as the 2013 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid—the most fuel-efficient luxury car in America—is about much bigger ideas with noticeably smaller footprints. The no-extra-cost hybrid model and its EPA-estimated mpg* inspired us to create a large installation of nearly five hundred origami dollar bills, suggesting you can do other, more interesting things with money saved.

It’s about finding inspiration in the unexpected. And given the robust, ninety-year history of making some of the most individual and influential luxury motorcars, it’s something the Lincoln Motor Company knows more than a little about.

*EPA-estimated 45 city/45 hwy/45 combined mpg. Actual mileage will vary.

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