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Lexus Bangs the Drum In New Digital Ads

  |  September 7, 2010   |  Comments

In a campaign where a car stars as a percussionist, Lexus has struck ad deals with YouTube, Pandora, CNET, Wired, ESPN, and Style.com.

Does playing drums while driving a car sound like fun? Digital marketers for Lexus's new 2011 IS model hope so, as their percussion-minded TV commercial will be seen on various websites for the next month. The :30 spot debuted on the Torrance, CA-based firm's YouTube channel last Friday, and will appear as a one-day home page takeover ad on the video site on Sept. 18, David Nordstrom, marketing VP at Lexus, told ClickZ.

Called "Music Track" (see video below), the spot features the new car speeding around a warehouse and purposefully tapping foot pedals for various drum kits with its four wheels. The drum beats are actually created by the car and not dubbed into the spot, said Nordstrom. The beats and squealing tire noises provide the only soundtrack for the commercial, as voice-over copy focuses on the ideas of performance and precision. "We hope the spot will show consumers a fun side of Lexus and entice them to get behind the wheel," he explained.

Tying into the drums theme, Lexus has struck a deal to sponsor a "Lexus Precision Station" on music recommendations site Pandora. Users will be able to create a new station based on percussion and tempo preferences. "[Other Pandora] ads include video from the TV spot, banners, and a customized skin of the station," Nordstrom said.

While simultaneously appearing on broadcast and cable TV, the commercial is also getting pushed to Lexus's 109,000 Facebook "likers," he said. "The spot's behind-the-scenes video will be launched…as an exclusive for the [Facebook] community," the marketing VP explained.

Nordstrom said display ads for the 2011 IS would run on CNET.com, Style.com, NFL.com, FoxSports.com, and Wonderwall.msn.com. He stated that mobile banners via iPhone apps will be served to CNET and ESPN.com readers in the campaign, which was developed by El Segundo, CA-based agency Team One and will conclude on Oct. 10.

Interestingly, the 2011 IS will be featured on Yahoo's "Sportacular" iPad app via custom ad units, Nordstrom said. "The ad units will allow the user to engage with precision features in the [car] via use of the 'accelerometer,'" he explained. "By tilting the iPad, the user will engage with various frames of the [car] as it is driving and will see performance measurements."

And to create awareness on Twitter, Lexus has partnered with CNET, Wired magazine, and Style.com. Every Thursday this month those three media companies will host a contest to give away one prize to followers on the social site. Twitter users who re-tweet about the contests and include the #Lexus hash-tag will be entered to win.

The contests will likely help Lexus build up a Twitter audience. The car brand launched its first official account on Aug. 23 and has since accrued a modest 173 followers.


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Christopher Heine

Christopher Heine was a senior writer for ClickZ through June 2012. He covered social media, sports/entertainment marketing, retail, and more. Heine's work has also appeared via Mashable, Brandweek, DM News, MarketingSherpa, and other tech- and ad-centric publications. USA Today, Bloomberg Radio, and The Los Angeles Times have cited him as an expert journalist.

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