• Nov 19, 2010
Lexus 'Darkcasting' – Click above to watch the teaser video after the break

Lexus is continuing its "Darker Side of Green" advertising campaign for the new CT200h with a new video series. Comedian Whitney Cummings will interview a host of unique personalities as they drive the new hybrid hatch through their home cities. Each episode will focus on a different locality, with hotspots like San Francisco, Miami and New Orleans taking center stage.

Don't expect the interviewees to be hardcore driving aficionados, either. Instead, Lexus has handpicked a few movers and shakers from each community to spend a little time behind the wheel of the company's newest hybrid.

The automaker is calling the video series "Darkcasting," and the interviews will be shot in a total of six cities across the United States. Eventually, the series will be found at the campaign web site, but the impatient among you can check out the quick trailer after the jump. The full press blast is there, too.

Photos by Drew Phillips / Copyright ©2010 AOL

[Source: Lexus]

Show full PR text
Lexus Captures the Conversation from Inside the New CT 200h Hybrid with 'Darkcasting'

Late Night Talk Show Series Hosted by Whitney Cummings Connects Interesting Personalities in a New Car Test Drive

Torrance, Calif., November 15, 2010 -- Introducing "Darkcasting." It's part test drive, part late night talk show, part real time feedback. Whatever it is, it's no 30-second spot for the new Lexus CT 200h, but an actual series hosted by actress and stand-up comedian Whitney Cummings that captures the (nearly) unfiltered conversations of influential personalities who take the new Lexus hybrid for a spin in their home cities--San Francisco, New York, Chicago, Miami, Los Angeles, and New Orleans. The net result is a series of conversational vignettes--the kind that happen when influencers drive through storied neighborhoods and compare reference points and shared nostalgia. "Which neighborhood do you call home? How would you say the city's energy has shaped you?"

"With Darkcasting, we're providing a mobile studio from which an entertaining talk show takes place against a moving cityscape. It helps us see the car through the lens of creative people from a variety of professional fields," says Dave Nordstrom, Lexus vice president of marketing.

"The show features a group of real drivers, not just driving enthusiasts, who give their honest impressions of the car and what is most relevant for them--maybe it's the 42 miles per gallon or maybe it's simply fun to drive."

Lexus anticipates that the talk show will, quite literally, jump start the conversation within the varied social networks of the influencers/drivers because of the context they provide. For example turntable master DJ Qbert and soul singing Goapale drive the CT across the Bay Bridge and discuss Oakland's music scene; Model and it-girl Harley Viera-Newton cruises past her favorite boutiques in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. These, and other drivers will showcase the car's relevance to potential customers, urban progressive consumers for whom the car was conceived.

"Darkcasting" is another program in the brand's multi-phased introduction of the CT, the newest gateway product to Lexus, through the creation of branded content. "Darkcasting" follows last summer's original short film "Dark Ride," which first teased consumers to engage with the CT while sitting shotgun in a thrilling, interactive online chase.

"If phase one of our campaign was 'engage,' phase two is about engrossing customers in conversation," says Nordstrom. "What we want to convey is that the CT is like no other luxury hybrid on the market. We're playing with ways to introduce the car--challenging content formats and marketing platforms. It's fun for us as a brand because there is nothing else like it in our portfolio."

"Darkcasting," an episodic series shot in six cities, rolled out its first episode November 4th. The city "cast ensembles" include social media influencers, young entrepreneurs and movers and shakers from technology, fashion, media and entertainment. Drivers were sourced by the brand for their varied and topical career choices or influencer reach, along with their interest in taking a test drive.

Episodes can be found on the CT 200h's official "Darker Side of Green" portal and feature a bevy of car content, like a personalization studio that allows users to build out their own car and related campaign color like behind-the-scenes footage of the city drives and interviews that bring the viewer into the worlds of its driver personalities--what did they think of the driving experience? What did they Tweet? Taking a page from film and television marketers, Lexus prompts consumers to "tune in" to "Darkcasting" episodes through robust entertainment and lifestyle media and marketing channels.

Getting customers engrossed in the conversation also means opening up active dialogue. The brand currently engages with its audience via Twitter (@Lexus) and Facebook (Facebook.com/lexus). The newly-relaunched www.DarkerSideofGreen.com site is managed by a dedicated editorial team and features a real time stream of Tweets, comments and social media integration (including Twitter, Facebook, and the location-based Foursquare, Gowalla and Facebook Places).

CAMPAIGN LINK: www.darkersideofgreen.com/darkcasting
VIEW TRAILER: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nyVjganGV3Y

The all-new CT 200h premium compact hybrid will go on sale in the U.S. in early 2011 as the first dedicated hybrid vehicle in the premium compact arena of the near luxury segment. Expected to be the luxury leader in fuel economy with 42 MPG combined, the stylish, sporty five-door also delivers a dynamic, fun-to-drive experience. The CT is powered by a 1.8L Atkinson cycle four-cylinder gas engine with Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i) and Lexus Hybrid Drive technology. Featuring Drive Mode Select, four drive modes including EV, which operates purely on electricity and is perfect for within-city jaunts, and Sport Mode, a first for any Lexus hybrid, offering the driver true personalization of the driving experience, the CT is a game-changer for Lexus' hybrid portfolio.

With its reputation for high-quality products and exemplary customer service from its 228 dealers, Lexus has been the top-selling luxury automaker in the U.S. for ten years in a row. In addition, Lexus is the luxury hybrid leader, now offering four hybrids, and soon to be five, when the CT is launched, that provide the best in innovative technology and first-class luxury. When Lexus was established in 1989, it offered two models of vehicles. Now, more than 20 years later, Lexus offers variations of 11 vehicles, from the entry-level IS 250 to its first V10 supercar, the LFA.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      Yay! More crap that hipsters can be smug about.
        • 4 Years Ago
        If you're going to generalize about hipsters, then you should know that hipsters are broke and ride bikes everywhere.

        I think yuppies is a more accurate term for the type of people that would buy this thing.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I've seen this thing on the road in Seattle. We don't get a ton of pre-production vehicles here so I assumed it was for sale. This is just an attempt to make a prius a little cooler (read: more expensive) right?
        • 4 Years Ago
        Hipsters are "broke" only because they wear $85 "ironic" tee shirts and drink Starbucks by the gallon.
        • 4 Years Ago
        If you're going to generalize about hipsters, then you should know that hipsters are broke and ride bikes everywhere.

        I think yuppies is a more accurate term for the type of people that would buy this thing.
      • 4 Years Ago
      This is the "Dove Model" of Hatches.
      Sticking this next to a Mini is like putting Kristie Alley next to Angelina

      White is not slimming, take a cue from Chrysler's new Advertising for the 200, Black on Black with a black background to disguise obese proportions.

      I like the name Lexus Blotus
      • 4 Years Ago
      Geez . . . and I thought Mercedes cars were getting uglier and uglier. Looks like Lexus takes the top prize(!)
      • 4 Years Ago
      Wouldn't it be great if they caught unintended acceleration on their tv show? Also, what are they trying to do, make this a cult car? They should never have even built it.
        • 4 Years Ago
        No, I complain because it's:
        -fugly as hell, like everything else toyota has spawned over the years
        -a hybrid
        -a lexus trying to be 'sporty'
        -a hybrid trying to be 'sporty'
        -a lexus trying to market to us young whippersnappers(who still have a pulse)
        -bland and vanilla inside
      • 4 Years Ago
      Pointless cr@p.
      Tell us the price and we'll let you know if we're interested.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Distracted driving at its finest. How many episodes will be shot before someone crashes while being interviewed?
      • 4 Years Ago
      Good job Lexus.. marketing strategies like this are great. Its a very nice show also.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Pointless cr@p.
      Tell us the price and we'll let you know if we're interested.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Given the sheer sensationalism dished out my GM over the Volt during its entire development - which was on such a petty level, I'm surprised there weren't press releaes covering Volt engineers going to the toilet - then your comment is ridiculous. But then again, you're a proverbial flag-waver.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @dondonel_ - lol, u confused me for bloke, that's entertaining. but you have a good point, i'm curious too, if it's anywhere close to the a3 tdi it's going to have a chance in terms of organic growth with lexus customers not yet sure if they want a hatch, anything north and it'll sell as 'well' as the insight. the quality of materials inside are up to typical lexus standards - on par with acura but below bmw/audi and the exterior in that horrendous poop brown they're currently displaying it with in the convention center is NOT a looker by ANY stretch. I wish they'd put this white example up on the platform.

        It'll definitely sell to the yuppie soon to be mom crowd like the hs though, and seems to be a better car than that tarted up corolla.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I'm a flag waver because I don't have a shrine for VAG in my house like you do? I don't think so, I actually drive japanese cars and I am genuinely interested in this one. And this is the reason of my complaint: a price would have helped me much more towards a purchase than 30 seconds of wasted bandwidth.
        • 4 Years Ago
        double post, sorry
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