DETROIT – Lincoln Aviator will have plenty of marketing support when it debuts this summer, as the luxury brand continues its bid to attract a younger demographic.

"This is certainly the look and the feel of the entire campaign for the ’03 model year, and really beyond," Lincoln’s Marketing and Communications Manager Ann Kalass says of four new television ads – one promoting the brand and three hyping the redesigned ’03 Navigator.

Scheduled to begin airing April 29, the ads feature characters who appear to be trailing-edge Boomers and leading-edge Gen-Xers. The characters are depicted in situations suggesting lifestyles that are comfortable, if not affluent; hip, if not adventurous. The theme: "Travel Well."

"We are, and we have successfully, broadened our market base," Kalass tells Ward’s, crediting Navigator and LS in particular. Of the buyers who’ve chosen those nameplates since their introduction in the late 1990s, up to 60% had never owned a Ford Motor Co. product.

Lincoln Aviator

More importantly to Lincoln, Navigator and LS owners boast the brand’s lowest median age – 49 and 53, respectively. For Town Car owners, the median age is 70; the overall median age for Lincoln buyers is 59.

"We have similar expectations with Aviator," Kalass says of the midsize SUV.

An upscale derivative of the Ford Explorer and Mercury Mountaineer, Aviator is aimed at the 30- to 54-year-old demographic. And Lincoln expects a significant percentage of its buyers will be new to the "Ford family."

Lincoln’s "Travel Well" theme parallels the experiential emphasis of the "No Boundaries" campaign used to hype Ford SUVs.

"We think this whole idea of, ‘there are those who travel and those who travel well,’ is very consistent with where we’ve been," Kalass says. "Not focusing on one element or one dimension of driving dynamics or technology, but focusing on the whole experience of travel. And that’s what this campaign is about."

Humor is a noticeable thread through the Lincoln ads, suggesting the legendary brand is serious about distancing itself from the stodgy suit – its stereotypical customer. "It was very deliberate," Kalass says, acknowledging the incontrovertible link between entertainment and effectiveness in advertising.

One spot features a couple at the end of their date, and when the woman prepares to get into her Navigator, they notice a puddle in front of the driver’s side door.

The gentleman gallantly throws his coat over the puddle so she won’t get her feet wet. She smiles gratefully, then hits a button on her key fob – deploying Navigator’s power running board. The poor guy picks up his sopping coat and she drives away, but not before she thanks him with a kiss.

The campaign’s creative elements come from Young and Rubicam. And with a view to exposing Lincoln to a hipper demographic, they will be televised during time slots for shows such as Friends and The West Wing – including season finales.

In addition to primetime television spots, there will be late-night buys on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and The Late Show with David Letterman. A print campaign will feature wide-ranging titles, from Motor Trend to Oprah.