- Ford's Lincoln Motor Co. unveiled the latest chapter of its Lincoln First Listen music series starring singer, songwriter and Grammy winner Ne-Yo and featuring his new single "Good Man," per a news release.
- The sixth installment of the series centers on the 2018 Lincoln Navigator, with a video showing Ne-Yo discussing what inspired his song, namely how to be a good man. The campaign also showcases Lincoln's Revel sound system, and how the new Navigator features Lincoln Play and a rear-seat entertainment system that lets passengers stream movies, TV shows, games and other content via mobile devices.
- Lincoln First Listen debuted in 2016 to spotlight both emerging and established musicians from behind the wheel of the brand's vehicles, per the release. The initiative also includes events and concert series.
Automotive advertising has traditionally leaned into macho themes like toughness and ruggedness in an effort to target a predominantly male audience. Lincoln is trying to take a more refined, nuanced spin on masculinity with the R&B singer Ne-Yo and at the same time highlight mobile-ready the features included in its latest Navigator model. While the effort might be admirable in defining what it takes to be a "good man," it risks alienating women, who are typically underserved in automotive marketing.
Gender stereotyping can be a turnoff for many consumers, especially younger age groups like Gen Z and millennials. Lincoln isn't the only automaker to try and steer away from an overly-rugged image. Mercedes-Benz Vans earlier this month launched a "Tough Conversations" content series featuring Henry Rollins to challenge ideas of toughness. The campaign features podcasts, a one-hour TV documentary, and digital and social media marketing.
Outside of the automotive segment, other brands have also recently run efforts examining what it means to be a man and what defines masculinity. Grooming and shaving startup Harry's in February released a poignant short film titled "A Man Like You" that suggested there's no definitive answer to the question. Like automotive, the razor category has typically been defined by macho-type messaging that can come across as stale.