Note: This idea was posted July 13, 2009 before the PR nightmare of the alleged independent accelerator pedal depression.
I read an article, Jackson, Kathy (2009). Sputtering Lexus has high hopes for entry-level models. Automotive News. Retrieved July 13, 2009 from http://www.autonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090713/GLOBAL02/307139847. It stated Lexus, “plans a new dealer training program and edgy, provocative ads, all in the name of wooing away some of that BMW traffic.”
Please reassure me Lexus isn’t going to stoop to the “selling sex” strategy. If so, we have both seen companies in the past when revenues start eroding or they want a quick bang for the buck, they turn to selling sex to move their product. They may increase revenue in the short term, however the long term effect taints the branding and often times drives the targeted group away and not towards the product. Carl Jr’s Burgers with Paris Hilton ads attracted some new customers; however it drove away many more and has permanently scarred the brand.
If it is true, I don’t expect Lexus to go that far; however targeting the 25-49 year old group doesn’t require or need sex as one of the marketing tools to boost sales. Since I am 38 years old and understand consumer behavior rather well, the provocative tactic should be dumped. Go personal in all media outlets.
My ideas for you are:
• People buy from people, people want to be associated with a specific demographic segment and testimonials are always golden.
• Find 25-49 year old affluent Lexus customers through your dealerships to get them involved in finding solid candidates to interview.
• Treat selected candidates with traditional Lexus quality from start to finish of the project
• Theme of campaign: What does the “L” mean to you?
o Focus on the “L” throughout the ads with words having a “L” in it.
o Show their car
o Show the people
o Show the people with their car
o Show them in one or more of their environments (office, home, traveling, with family, spouse, etc…)
o Have a mix of personalities and backgrounds (serious, humor, analytical, entrepreneurs, executives, newlyweds, single parents, singles, early retirees, etc…)
Nathan C. Whitington