With the arrival of the all-new CT 200h premium hybrid compact in showrooms later this month, Lexus introduces a vehicle that breaks the mold of conventional hybrids. It delivers what many thought was impossible-a hybrid with sporty, sexy styling, dynamic handling, best in class mileage and all the luxury of a Lexus.
To launch the CT, Lexus is embarking on one of the largest marketing campaigns in the brand's history. The multi-faceted campaign, which breaks today, features pioneering computer-generated (CG) creative and unconventional media executions.
"This campaign had to convey the CT's uncompromising personality and reach both current Lexus owners and new consumers through bold and engaging initiatives that hit their passion points," said Dave Nordstrom, vice president of marketing for Lexus. "The result is a campaign that reflects the car itself — it's energetic, passionate and very dynamic."
Escape. Challenge. Forge. Details.
The broadcast campaign includes four television commercials that demonstrate the "darker side of green" of the CT, a hybrid with aggressive styling and dynamic handling. Three of the spots make use of photo-real computer generated images with only the interior shots being live action.
The first spot, "Escape," expresses the desire to free yourself from the confines of someone else's reality. In a starkly black and white graphic world, a Matador Red CT races through the streets in a hyperkinetic chase scene, intercut with images of the vehicle's interior. The spot culminates as the CT approaches a brick wall on a dead end street. Instead of slowing down, the driver speeds up and smashes through the wall into a world of color. The voiceover reads, "Escape convention. Escape definition. Escape compromise… Welcome to the darker side of green."
The second commercial, "Challenge," lets the viewer discover that reality is what you make of it. The spot takes place in a surreal urban environment. The roads, sidewalks and buildings subtly shift perspective, as the CT aggressively maneuvers through the scene. As the roads shift, the CT navigates the changing terrain as it races to the escape route.
Spot number three, "Forge," was originally created for the African American market, but will also run in general rotation. In this ad, Lexus took a different approach to showcasing the vehicle. A squadron of CTs is seen forging its own road, traveling toward a wall of skyscrapers. Roads open and obstacles vanish as the CTs gain full access to what seems like an impenetrable city. Actor and best-selling author Hill Harper appears in the spot and provides the voiceover — declaring the CT is, "Just what you need to forge your own path."
"Details," the final spot, showcases the performance handling, luxurious interior, sleek styling and 42 mile-per gallon fuel efficiency of the CT. Featuring a glowing red CT as it numbly handles the curves of the road in a vibrant night time cityscape, this spot was developed in both Spanish and English and will run in select areas.
New Car, New Media Executions
The CT is unlike any vehicle Lexus has ever launched. The marketing campaign's media extensions were designed to follow suit.
In addition to traditional elements, Lexus has entered into several unique partnerships, including an alignment with YouTube to sponsor "Girl Walks Into a Bar," the world's first feature film developed exclusively for online distribution. The automaker has also joined forces with Microsoft to develop a custom branded entertainment series entitled, "Fresh Perspectives." The documentary style series features six artists, each commissioned to create three original pieces of work within 24 hours and inspired by the themes of Enrich, Escape and Empower.
The campaign also includes sole sponsorship of USA Network's Characters Film Series, premier sponsor of the MOG @ SXSW 2011 event, and a Lexus X Monocle custom CT keepsake insert.
To reach tech savvy customers, Lexus is utilizing the iPad to extend high profile sponsorships across digital, print and broadcast partners. Partnerships include exclusive launch sponsorship of Gear Patrol and IndustryAndCollective.com, ABC full episode player, Interview April Issue, Wired May issue and ESPN The Magazine. In addition to iPad sponsorships, Lexus has secured syndication rights with key media partners such as Vogue, Complex, MSN, USA Network, Current TV, Rolling Stone and Urban Daddy, which will allow Lexus to feature co-branded and publisher produced content on the dedicated CT iPad application.
Lexus will run print ads within publications such as Monocle, Wired, Details, Rolling Stone, Interview, Fader and Flaunt. Some of the ads will provide opportunities for readers to download exclusive music by some of the most cutting-edge DJs and music producers. There will also be out-of-home perm boards in 11 markets and eco-friendly custom outdoor murals in five urban markets, in addition to homepage takeovers on ESPN, Urban Daddy, Pandora and Daily Beast. Lexus will also deploy social media strategies in support of several of the campaign extensions.