*Ne-Yo, the entertainment multi-talent who’s long been taking the industry by storm, recently linked up with Lincoln Motors thru the company’s First Listen series. Their relationship was brilliantly consummated this past weekend with a concert in Detroit – aka Motor City or Motown.
Music and automobiles … what more would you expect from “the D?”
Rajoielle Register, Head of Brand Strategy and Growth Audience
Communications at both Lincoln and Ford, spoke about the details of the program and the relationship with Ne-Yo:
“Our Lincoln First Listen series is a platform that we developed two years ago where we partner with artists as well as with our vehicles, the sound system inside called Revel, and we launch new songs. So, to bring something like this to life is utopia for me, because it’s a digital series, and to have Ne-Yo here in our hometown in concert and we’re able to showcase our vehicles as well as the digital feature is exciting,” she said.
Ne-Yo was a “good” fit for the Lincoln Brand. He’s enjoying a high time in his career (he just released a new CD and is currently a judge on the hit television show World of Dance) and his personal life is currently in a great place (recently married and is a father of four).
Register shared the thought process that went into selecting the 35-year-old phenom:
“For me it was authenticity. When my team brought Ne-Yo up as a potential solution, I thought ‘ok, obviously he’s been nominated for Grammys many times, he’s very very popular,’ but I wanted to, one, hear the music and, two, find out more about him from a personality standpoint. For me, character is important, how you interact with different partners and everything came back as a go. I love ‘Good Man,’ so we moved forward and it’s been wonderful.”
Ne-Yo performed at Detroit’s city-owned, but minority operated Chene Park Amphitheater and was joined by Brandy, a fellow pop superstar with a résumé as impressive as his own. The Chene was the perfect setting for the pair to satiate their fans with chart-topping music from their mutual “miles long” discographies.
Shahida Mausi Johnson, President of The Right Productions Inc, who operates the amphitheater with her sons shared her thoughts on the relationship:
“We had a wonderful experience with Lincoln and NABJ last year in New Orleans and when I mentioned that we had Ne-Yo booked this year, they had a relationship with Ne-Yo with the Lincoln First Listen series and it just came together … it was meant to be,” she said.
“Detroit is a car city, right? We love our Lincolns. The Navigator, Ne-Yo, I mean what’s not to love. It’s an exciting night. I love the vehicle and I love the music.”
The world-class amphitheater seats 6000, the acoustics are amazing and its backdrop is a panoramic view of the Detroit River. Both Brandy and Ne-Yo took full advantage of that set up, each whipping concert-goers into hours of singing-along and dancing in the aisles. It was simply a … good show.
And speaking of good, Ne-Yo being a husband and father, as previously mentioned, has found him at a place in life where he’s dedicated to being a – and there that word is again – good man. In fact, his newfound vantage point inspired his latest project of that title.
He’s not as clear as Register is on how he got the opportunity to join forces with Lincoln, but his connection with the brand was instant from his perspective:
That perfect night inside Chene Park was all about Ne-yo and Brandy and the capacity crowd of Detroiters who came out to see them, but also center stage throughout the evening was the Lincoln brand and a few of the company’s impressive line of vehicles. It gave Lincoln the opportunity to interact with a very important market segment, the black community.
“Lincoln wants to communicate class, style, and grace … we’re a brand for a person like you. Having the opportunity to align with someone who means so much to the African American community is important, so we’re not just checking a box, but also our vehicles are sexy and stylish and they have all the features and techonology that you would want, and it’s American made. So, we definitely want to make sure that African americans check us out and give us a try.
The teams behind the venue and the Lincoln brand did a fantastic job of integrating the “brand with the bands,” which made for an awesome entertainment experience with heightened sensory stimulation. Concertgoers and Lincoln’s invited special guests heard the good music, saw the good vehicles and basked in the extraordinary atmosphere of the good venue. Too much? Shoot me…
Check out Lincoln’s First Look video featuring Ne-Yo and the 2018 Navigator: