Cannes Lions

Lincoln - The Scent Of Sanctuary

VMLY&R, New York / LINCOLN / 2023

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Case Film
Presentation Image






• Situation

Lincoln is a 100-year old brand that needs to stretch its appeal to a younger audience. Lincoln is not seen as innovative or contemporary in their approach to the luxury automobile.

• Brief

Show that Lincoln is more technologically-advanced, and more modern, than you think by dramatically introducing a set of five selectable, electronically-delivered scents to augment their in-vehicle experience. Tap into the culturally progressive, younger audience who attends Art Basel/Miami as a place to advance the perception of Lincoln, with an experience and activation befitting a modern luxury brand.

• Objectives

Get people talking about Lincoln. Showcase the Lincoln brand in a contemporary, advanced way. Appeal to journalists already gathered at Art Basel for coverage on Lincoln.


To draw attention to Lincoln’s creation of five selectable, in-vehicle scents, we employed the conventions of a celebrity-focused cosmetics launch to draw attention from consumers, social audiences and media.


We needed to reach culturally progressive individuals with HHI of 100k+, ages 25-45. Their opinions of products/brands are partly influenced by the environment they see these products in. And since they have little or no opinion of Lincoln, we needed to catch their attention with the kinds of things they do care about: Serena Williams, fragrance and a bit of glamour. It’s also why we chose Art Basel/Miami for an activation. The right crowd. The right passion points. At the right time.


• On 11/28, we launched a teaser commercial for Coastal Mornings on Serena William’s Instagram.

• From 11/28 – 12/5, we installed a pop-up boutique claiming to be launching a mysterious new fragrance, “Coastal Mornings by Sanctuary”

• We flew in a group of beauty/fashion/lifestyle influencers as “accomplices,” along with paid media and organic social to spread the word and build excitement.

• From 12/1 – 12/3, the scent was revealed at the activation to be from Lincoln. The Lincoln Star vehicle was revealed in front of the SLS hotel, along with the fragrance in hand-blown, glass bottles.

• A panel on scent and its effect on mood with Serena took place for journalists on 12/1.

• On 12/6, Serena reveals to her Instagram fans that Coastal Mornings is from Lincoln

• From 12/1 – 12/9, perfume bottles signed by Serena Williams were auctioned online, with proceeds donated to charity.


The activation at Art Basel allowed Lincoln to appear in the cultural conversation in a meaningful way, by creatively engaging potential new customers to shift brand perception and reach younger audiences. 150,000 impressions were gained from the Star Concept vehicle display, and 84% of guests were more likely to recommend Lincoln after viewing it. Storefront signage drove guests to the SLS hotel activation and to video content through a QR code, also gaining 30,000 impressions. Serena Williams posted two videos with combined impressions of 910,000, while influencers amplified the content to 5.5M followers. Paid media support delivered messaging to 6.3M users, while earned media drove over 120MM impressions. Lincoln organic social media posts reached 3.5M users; Lincoln donated $10,000 to charity as a result of the Coastal Mornings by Sanctuary online auction.

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