Lexus is rolling out an African American-targeted campaign for its new IS sport sedan, employing musical podcasts and a blog ad buy.
The Toyota luxury brand's four-week effort is centered around LexusFusion.com, a microsite where visitors can subscribe to podcasts, view a behind-the-scenes video of the making of a radio spot, and tell friends about the site. Independent interactive shop ImagineThat developed the online portion of the effort.
The podcasts themselves, also sponsored by Vibe Magazine, consist of about 25 minutes of hip-hop/jazz fusion -- part of Hidden Beach records' "Unwrapped" series. After a DJ intro, in which the Lexus IS is mentioned, music is interspersed with radio spots, produced by Lexus multicultural agency Burrell, a unit of Publicis. A new podcast will be released every week of the campaign.
"The campaign is built around [the concept of] dimensions," explained ImagineThat SVP Derek Bonney. "The idea is that the car offers multiple dimensions -- performance, luxury, technology." The fusion of hip-hop and jazz in the music is meant to reflect that theme.
Lexus is also diving into another emerging media type -- blogs. The company has made blogs a "pretty heavy part" of the overall ad campaign, according to Bonney. The company is running a series of specially-designed creatives on the Blogads network's music channel.
"One of the things we've learned in this process is they appear like they're part of the blog," said Bonney. "You draw people a little bit more into a dialogue than in a standard ad." The 150 x 200 pixel units feature a dominant, quirky image and plain text.
Other media buys -- featuring Flash creative -- will run on BET.com, BlackPlanet.com and Vibe.com. The BET agreement has editorial staff writing reviews of the podcast content.
"They have the freedom to write about it any way they want," he said. "We knew when we did the deal with them that we'd just have to, so they say, face the music on it."
The company has also rented demographically targeted opt-in email lists to try to drum up interest in the microsite.
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Pamela Parker is a former managing editor of ClickZ News, Features, and Experts. She's been covering interactive advertising and marketing since the boom days of 1999, chronicling the dot-com crash and the subsequent rise of the medium. Before working at ClickZ, Parker was associate editor at @NY, a pioneering Web site and e-mail newsletter covering New York new media start-ups. Parker received a master's degree in journalism, with a concentration in new media, from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism.
March 19, 2014