Lexus is celebrating its second-biggest sales year on record in the US market by making a splash in the Super Bowl with the release of a new commercial that is fast, furious and moves as aggressive as a defense on a jailbreak blitz.
Street dancer Charles “Lil Buck” Riley, also known as “the Baryshnikov of jookin,” introduces the new 2018 LC 500 coupe and the completely redesigned Lexus LS 500 as he contorts and gyrates his flexible frame that’s as smooth as an ocean wave to singer Sia’s unmistakable vocals in “Move Your Body.” British actress Minnie Driver narrates a new chapter for the luxury car manufacturer in “Man and Machine” that complements the contemporary expression under the global tagline “Experience Amazing.”
“The Super Bowl is the one event of the year when the audience is looking forward to the ads as much as the game. With two new halo vehicles launching this year, along with a new tagline and a new voice of Lexus, a high-profile commercial in the Super Bowl was an ideal opportunity to highlight our new brand direction, represented by the first-ever flagship LC coupe and the all-new LS luxury sedan,” Brian Bolain, general manager for Lexus’ product and consumer marketing, told [a]listdaily. “‘Experience Amazing’ was specifically chosen so that everyone in the chain, from engineers, to marketers, to dealers and sales representatives would find something useful in the language that would inform their daily efforts to ensure Lexus’ rightful spot as a global tier-one luxury lifestyle brand.”
Like many other top-tier brands, Lexus is looking to join the Super Bowl conversation in what is arguably the most significant day of the year for marketers and advertisers alike. With viewership records destroyed year-in and year-out, Fox is commanding top dollar for brands to get some play time across the airwaves this year—the average cost of a 30-second ad for the Super Bowl is $5 million.
Bolian says the hefty price tag for their 30-second version of the commercial that will run in the second quarter of the game was well worth it since they also consider premium sports as well as culinary as key verticals.
“We feel that launching this commercial during such a high-profile event offered a great platform to reach our target audience of current and future customers. So, yes, it is worth it when you also evaluate how much buzz is given to the spot before, during and after it airs—coupled with the other campaign elements that support the spot. However, the cost of admission is a key reason why we don’t view this as an ‘every-year occurrence.’ Lexus truly uses the Super Bowl when there is significant brand news that makes the investment worthwhile.”
This will be the third time the Toyota-owned brand is running an ad in the Super Bowl. With such a steep price tag, marketers can’t afford to fumble their chance to reach the projected 110 million people who are going to tune-in to watch the game. That’s 72 percent of all homes in the United States.
Just as important is pairing the TV efforts with a strong second-screen digital sidecar. If you really want to get an idea of how well an ad is performing, head to Twitter, where last year’s game generated 16.9 million tweets, 4.6 million of which were users opining about the ads that aired during the game.
Lexus is pairing the TV commercial with a social extension that features Lil Buck doing popular end zone dances launching on Lexus’ Twitter, Instagram and Facebook channels. A behind-the-scenes video will reveal more of Lil Buck’s intricate choreography and offer a glimpse into how the commercial was filmed after the Super Bowl.
Bolain says the positive feedback they’ve received so far makes them already consider the spot a success.
“The social and media chatter saying that this spot is so different for Lexus means we’re making noise and really delivering on our brand promise to bring more excitement to everything we do, he says. “The Super Bowl is our opportunity to announce the LC and LS, but later in the year will be our chance to actually launch them with two unique, integrated campaigns. . . . It feels like the maximum benefit from the spot comes from the amount of conversation it causes during the windows of time both pre- and post-Super Bowl.”
The marketing for the new LC is not only limited to Sunday’s game. Lexus started showing the LC as early as last summer in a prototype form at a variety of activations around the country to the enthusiast an influencer audience. During this time they also continued to explore virtual reality. Bolain says consumers were able to see the LC up close through a VR experience that takes the idea of a configurator to an entirely new level. They shared the technology with consumers at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and had some costumers phoning their dealers on the spot.
“From a messaging perspective, you’ll find creative work being developed and written specifically to the idea of ‘Experience Amazing.’ And for the foreseeable future, you’ll hear this new tag line voiced over at the end of each Lexus spot,” Bolain says. “From a more practical perspective, Lexus’ goal is to create amazing experiences for our customers, both in-vehicle and through every touchpoint of customer engagement.”
Follow Manouk Akopyan on Twitter @Manouk_Akopyan