“Lincoln Black Label” Among Ford Trademark Apps, But for What?
From American Express cards to Ralph Lauren haberdashery to fascist uniforms, the color black delivers a powerful aesthetic message—and in many cases, memorable branding as well. So it’s with special interest that we see Ford has applied to trademark “Lincoln Black Label.” We don’t think it signifies a partnership with Johnnie Walker, but very probably a top trim line for fully loaded MKZs, MKSs, and MKXs, like Cadillac’s Platinum-level XTS and Escalade.
There are other possibilities for Ford’s Black Label intentions. It could refer to higher-end Lincoln dealerships, many of which are undergoing expensive renovation. Less glamorously, the world of private hire cars and limousines, long dominated by Lincoln, are literally called black cars; heaven forbid Lincoln embrace this further with a branded line of posh airport taxis. As is the case with any trademark application, this could be a branding idea that Ford never brings to market.
Other automakers have, of course, offered “black”-badged versions of their cars. Porsche, for example, has offered a slew of Black edition sports cars; Mercedes-Benz dubs its plutonium-fueled AMG models Black Series. In the early 2000s, Bentley referred to a face-lifted Arnage T as the Black Label, referencing earlier Red and Green Label editions from the late 1990s. In the non-automotive world, Black Label branding has been used at Johnnie Walker (for a midrange blended scotch), Ralph Lauren (for extra-pricey men’s formalwear), and even Hormel (for a full line of bacon products).
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The importance of badging, branding, and public impression for a luxury car company can’t be understated, and Lincoln needs an image. But it also needs cars that aren’t Fords, no matter how good the underlying Fusions and Edges, and that’s an issue independent of any colored label.