Lincoln gets a lot of flak for selling cars that are essentially re-badged Fords. Can its new ad campaign distract buyers from that fact?

When Ford's luxury brand was re-launched as the "Lincoln Motor Company," we got trippy shots of a manta ray swimming in a car and Abraham Lincoln walking on a beach.

With the new "#LuxuryUncovered" ads, Lincoln is ditching art for straightforward facts. As long as those facts make the brand's cars look like smart buys.

The ads feature sensible-looking couples--who are noticeably younger than the stereotypical Lincoln buyer--"interviewing" a 2014 MKZ Hybrid and Lexus ES 300h in what looks like a warehouse owned by someone with OCD.

Anyway, the couple runs down a checklist of desirable features that the Lincoln has and the Lexus doesn't.

That includes the Lincoln's better fuel economy. The MKZ Hybrid is EPA-rated at 45 mpg combined (45 mpg city, 45 mpg highway), while the ES300 h gets 40 mpg combined (40 mpg city, 39 mpg highway).

Another ad shows off the Lincoln's longer equipment list, which includes a retractable panoramic roof.

While the 2014 MKZ does have a few competitive features, is that enough to outweigh the things it doesn't have?

Take away the MKZ Hybrid's class-leading fuel economy, and what you're left with is a Ford Fusion with a different styling and a few upgrades.

That may suffice for buyers cross-shopping it with the Camry-based ES, but that simply isn't good enough to compete with midsize luxury sedans from Audi, BMW, Mercedes, and Cadillac--or even Lexus' rear-wheel drive GS.

Until Lincoln does more to differentiate itself from Ford, it won't be seen as a true luxury brand. No sliding glass roof can change that.


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