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Lincoln Twitter-Driven Super Bowl Ad: Alpacas, Bikers, Turtles, Space Invaders

By Barry Janoff

January 31, 2013: Lincoln Motor's Super Bowl strategy — which involved Jimmy Fallon asking his followers on Twitter to submit their most outrageous road trip stories in 140 characters — has come to fruition.

The automaker has unveiled the 30-second spot that will run during the third quarter of Super Bowl XLVII this Sunday on CBS, which will morph into a 90-second YouTube version. And, thanks to Fallon's followers, it comes complete with alpacas, a group of bikers riding Harley-Davidsons, a film crew in the desert shooting an alien invasion movie and a German hitchhiker who ends up at the marriage altar.

According to Lincoln, more than 6,000 tweets were received over a a three-day period in December, with Fallon overseeing the selection of the best stories, which then were used to create a storyboard for the Super Bowl spot.

As a bonus, those people whose tweets made the final cut were given cameo appearances in the Super Bowl commercial as extras in the final scene. In a similar theme, Volkswagen's Super Bowl spot features people who had meltdowns on YouTube.

Lincoln said it would also be running a second new spot during the Super Bowl broadcast, "Phoenix." The company said that it "graphically showcases the new beginning of the brand with a MKZ emerging from the flames of a Lincoln Town Car."

"A major element of all successful transformations is creating awareness and conversation among many more consumers than just the intended client audience," Matt VanDyke, global director for Lincoln, said in a statement. "True to our brand's new vision to be surprising and different, we approached developing this commercial in a new and revolutionary way."

The Twitter-inspired spot opens with a voiceover explaining the premise. "When the Lincoln Motor Co. teamed up with Jimmy Fallon and asked you to tweet about your most memorable road trips, you helped us tell a story."

Which goes like this: A German agriculture student hitchhiking on a road is picked up by a young woman in a Lincoln. They pass an alpaca farm — "It's the Alpacalypse," yells out the farmer — then make a wrong turn and find themselves on a film set, where aliens have just landed in their spaceship. Back on the road, they encounter a bale of turtles and Harley-riding bikers who are proficient at checkers.

They all come together in a closing scene in which the German student and the woman driver are getting married. The voiceover explains, "It's a road that is full of love. And a journey that starts with you." (See the spot here.)

The longer version on YouTube includes more road trip stories and features NFL Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith as the voiceover and in a cameo and appearances by hip-hop artist Rev Run and actor Wil Wheaton.

According to Lincoln, the tweets that final 30- and 90-second spots included:

• @karinarosewhite - We drove passed an alpaca farm, a few of them were meandering on the highway and my sister screamed, "It's the Alpacalypse!" #steerthescript
• @debdef - #SteertheScript Picked up a German hitchhiker who came to America to study farming!?! Drove him back to Austin to meet my friends.
• @AllenFabijan - #SteertheScript Thousands of turtles crossing the road in FL. Dad stops, so did a huge scary Harley gang! Us and the gang played checkers!
• @Will_Stenner – Drove through a movie set in Palemdale, CA didn't realize it. Got out and enjoyed the catered food #SteertheScript
• @AdinaSpivak – Two separate strangers proposed marriage twice in one day #SteertheScript ... incidentally I was on my way to (someone else's) wedding

Lincoln also has release on YouTube segments featuring each of the Twitter contributors sharing their stories and talking about being in the acutal commerical.

Said Lincoln's VanDyke, "We invited the world to help drive this story and now look forward to this work helping continue the conversation about Lincoln."

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