• Jun 17, 2011
Lexus declares itself Future Proof – Click above to watch the video after the break

Company: Toyota Motor Sales

Brand: Lexus

Medium: TV

Ad Agency: Team One

Product: Lexus Brand

Campaign: "Engineering Amazing."

What We Like: There is a swagger in the ads, and a tone and creative quality that hearkens back to when Lexus was launching as a new luxury brand in 1989 and 90. Call us car geeks, but we like the stories of how Lexus had to invent new processes, like a 3D loom to weave carbon fiber that is strong enough for its intended purpose. Innovating plastic that can be recycled infinitely sounds pretty cool, too, though we would discourage the company from using the stuff over and over again in its interiors, some of which lately seem to look like they were designed at the Igloo Cooler company. The close of one ad just released, titled "A New Era of Lexus Innovation," finishes on the track, and gives the brand a youthful energy – not unimportant since the vast majority of Lexus buyers lately also reap AARP discounts. In "Wall," a Lexus LS crashes a wall of beakers and vials each holding a different "alternative" fuel, such as bio-diesel, algae, liquid hydrogen, and so on. Lexus makes the point that its Hybrid Drive technology will optimize any fuel system on the planet, and that its technology is "future-proof." That's swagger.

What We Don't Like: Lexus has a way of making its ads sound like the brand is the last word in innovation. We guess that's what they were shooting for. It is, after all, advertising. But it's hard not to react with a bit of a jaundiced eye when we stop to consider just how pointless the hybrid system actually is in big cars like the Lexus LS. The fuel economy gain is negligible, and at a lot of extra cost. Seriously, $112,250 for the LS600h, about $45K more than an LS460? Want to impress us? Start mating your bigger vehicles to a diesel engine, which would be far more appropriate to the vehicles than hybrids. Also, you could work on the plastics aesthetics on the lower-priced Lexus models.

Strategy: Lexus has a well-known age problem. The age of its buyers has crept consistently over 60, and it muffed its cycle plans by having too many new core models come out at the same time. Some of the vehicles are long in the tooth. This campaign is filled with tech, messages about sustainability, race-track footage. We aren't saying Toyota is trying to out the brand on roller skates, but it is clearly using story-telling techniques to give fresh life to its innovations. That's a good idea, and they should keep at it.

"This isn't just a campaign, it's a statement that, for Lexus, the best is yet to come," says Dave Nordstrom, vice president of marketing for Lexus. "It's not about simply making incremental strides and improvements, but about taking giant leaps in innovation." These ads and this approach is slated to run through January, so it is a major push to super-charge the way customers think of Lexus.

Grade: B+

Watch five of the commercials after the jump and give the campaign your own grade below.













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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 107 Comments
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      Engine Knight
      • 3 Years Ago
      The truth is, every business is around to make money, and the best way to sell is by making what you think the people are going to buy. In Lexus' case, it's possible (but subjective) to say that that purpose is building very quiet, very reliable, very powerful, but MAYBE boringly styled (again subjective argument). To each his own in the latter. It doesn't matter if the car is "best looking" or even "best value." What ultimately matters is what sells; look at the RX as proof. Lexus new the crossover craze was coming and they nailed it right on the head, and with respect to what they thought people wanted, they have gotten it right EVERY YEAR for the past ten years. Further more, I'll tell you how else Lexus gets it right...they build reliable cars because they know everyone hates having to give up their car that they depend on for something unexpected. And when you are at the dealer, you know it's going to be taken care of properly the first time you send it there. There is no other luxury brand I can think of (even Infiniti considering how unreliable the first QX56 was according to Consumer Reports) except maybe Acura that can say the same....and even then, walk into an Acura dealer, then a Lexus dealer, and just seeing the attention Lexus puts into those places pretty much settles that argument. Whether you like them or not, Lexus knows what they're doing...and no, I don't drive one. My mother does and she's on her third RX, after two Toyotas. Demographics aside, she buys them over and over again because in her own words, she already knows she going to love the car. Love 'em or hate 'em, Lexus is very good at what they do.
      hkborntokyoinspired
      • 3 Years Ago
      Why is there so much hate for Lexus on Autoblog? If you want sportiness, get a BMW or an Infiniti. If you want the cache, get an Audi or a Benz. Cadillac has shifted to making sporty cars and Buick still doesn't offer any products to compete with most of the Lexus range. Lexus does what it does best, and that's catering to people who prioritize comfort above all else. Just because it doesn't appeal to you does not mean that the product itself should get a failing grade.
        Synthono
        • 3 Years Ago
        @hkborntokyoinspired
        There seems to be a lot of sockpuppets out there - look how similar and simplistic a lot of the comments are - and there are a few people who harbor an irrational hatred of Toyota for some reason. It's interesting to note that if you observe the up/down vote ratio, the negative comments tend to go into the negative realm very quickly, but a lot of the comments themselves exist.
          Mbox Cancer
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Synthono
          Also seems to be a bunch of kids who do nothing but downgrade comments critical of Lexus and/or the ads all night long.
        My Name
        • 3 Years Ago
        @hkborntokyoinspired
        You probably drive a Lexus *CoughOverpricedToyotaCough*...
          • 3 Years Ago
          @My Name
          [blocked]
          Evan McMiller
          • 3 Years Ago
          @My Name
          Let's see...The LS is an entirely unique vehicle. The GS is based off a model sold only in Japan, the Aristo. That is a premium car already, the GS is even more upmarket, and there are vast differences. The LX is similar to a Landcruiser, but is even nicer, more powerful, and more advanced. And they're both expensive. The GX is loosely based on the 4Runner but is leaps and bounds ahead in the luxury and power department. The IS is entirely unique. The RX is entirely unique. The ES is a Camry deep down, but the differences are again, vast. How the hell are they "overpriced Toyotas" again? This argument gets old, especially as it's pretty damn ignorant.
          carfan
          • 3 Years Ago
          @My Name
          for those who don't understand that lexus is an overpriced toyota, try this: they are toyotas that cost alot more...do you get it now?!
        miketim1
        • 3 Years Ago
        @hkborntokyoinspired
        Lexus now has sportiness so u can get a little of everything from Lexus. The ISF beast everything in the infiniti lineup, the ISF beats the S4, C63 and can according to Car and Driver layed down the same time as the M3. Saying Lexus doesn't have performance is just ignorant. Anyone who says Lexus doesn't build some of the best quality cars on the road is clearly bais because its FACT that Lexus cars are one of the best built cars money can buy.
          My Name
          • 3 Years Ago
          @miketim1
          What time does Mr. Toyoda let you out of your cage?
        ACSRHS
        • 3 Years Ago
        @hkborntokyoinspired
        Wow the four of you must think you're badass... :)
        carfan
        • 3 Years Ago
        @hkborntokyoinspired
        this guy said: "If you want sportiness, get a BMW or an Infiniti." Infiniti of all cars for sportiness??? don't you guys have to cut the lawn or go grocery shopping with the mother in law rather than wasting your time on a car forum????! Only totally absent minded people would put an Infiniti in the category of "sporty" Just unbelievable!!
      Carlos
      • 3 Years Ago
      It' an F. Don't waste your time by watching them. Your cars are **** Toyota!
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      Ed
      • 3 Years Ago
      Only idiots pay 100k for a big Camry.
        Helix
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Ed
        Only idiots think the LS460 is a big Camry.
          My Name
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Helix
          It's 100k for a big Toyota. People that buy them are idiots. Nobody with more than 1/4 a brain would pay that much for their Sh*t.
          dowens1617
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Helix
          GM, Ford, and Chrysler wish they had anything approaching a Lexus LS. The Big three are masters of the recall game. I mean after all they have had decades of practice. Lincoln has on idea on how to build a luxury car. Cadillac has only one model that's good, and that car still can't touch a Lexus LS, or GS when it comes to actual innovation. Cadillac has no flag ship car as of today. I'll bet money the executives at GM would gladly take Lexus under their umbrella if that could magically happen. Chrysler is just hopeless. Meanwhile Lexus built and sold ALL 500 model of a super rare sports car that cost more than anything GM, Ford, or Chysler has in their inventory . What does GM have? A 100k Corvette that looks like a 45k Corvette. Absolutely laughable. Don't hate on Toyota and Lexus. Make the Big Three responsible for building better luxury sedans.
          miketim1
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Helix
          My close friend owns a LS460 fully loaded.... what a automobile. The car is more comfortable then a and well built then a mansion
      Kevin Rinke
      • 3 Years Ago
      If I were going to buy a luxury vehicle, I'd get a Audi, BMW, or Mercedes-Benz, not a toyota with leather seats.
        Helix
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Kevin Rinke
        Sit in them all and you'll see that "Toyota with leather seats" is better. Not sure if that makes the LS more than a "Toyota with leather seats" or the Audi, Mercedes and BMW's shameful.
      Jim
      • 3 Years Ago
      Lexus/Toyota has the worst ads ever ...just like their cars. Go home, Toyota!
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        Varcity
        • 3 Years Ago
        The GS and IS are also rebadged Toyotas, they're sold in Japan, Lexus isn't. You still get a thumbs up.
          Helix
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Varcity
          Ever since the current IS and GS were launched they do not have Toyota equivalents in Japan. Lexus went global a few years back and is since sold in Japan.
        miketim1
        • 3 Years Ago
        Buick and cadd did? How did they do that ??? All Caddilc made was the CTS-V... compare that to the LFA the LFA wins every time and gets more spot light. Once car doesnt do much every other car in Caddiac is still the same ol' grans dad caddi. and Buick? IDK what world you live in bro but people in the real world when they speck of Buick think of old and slow. I dare you to go out and ask what kind of car brand people think caddilac and buick are. Dont come on a web site talkin false shxt.
          • 3 Years Ago
          @miketim1
          [blocked]
      John
      • 3 Years Ago
      It is absolutely unreal how far along Lexus has come in comparison to Acura and Infiniti....
      Keven Fitzpatrick
      • 3 Years Ago
      Well, I'm glad there is a set of owners here who want t defendtheir car/purchase. But let's get down to facts. If anybody takes issue with the following, why not engage me on a point by point basis instead of engaging in character attacks an stating ridiculous nonsense like "I'm spouting unounded prpoganda". Just because I'm not feedn you things you want to hear doesn't make what I'm saying wrong or unjust in any way. And please, don't tel me to "grow up" because I don't say things you like how entrely pathetic. Facts: Audi, Daimler and BMW all outsell Lexus.in Japan by a large margin. Globally, Lexus is an insignificant player In premium luxury automobiles. In the us,BMW and MB were already on track to outsell Toyota for the first time in a decade. Audi and BMW are far more along in processes to reduce weight by way of aluminium constructon. Toyota and lexus models are not laser welded like most vw group vehicles are, down to a golf and jetta. (Check out the strip covering the spot welds on the roof above the doors - not present on an Audi, for example. Lexus is behind in terms of powertrain technology. I know this is going to raise heat, but think about it: no sort of know-how in supercharging/turbocharging, which are boons to both efficiency and driving enjoymeny. Unfortunate. I mean, where's the twin turbo/supercharged engine? The high-tech direct injection turbo 4? How about a diesel 4? A supercharged/direct injected/hybrid/4 wheel drive suv w/ 8 speed automatic? Certainltly not th RX! Also, hillarious lexus and toyota get so hotand heavy over their hybrid synergy drive, yet it 1) is now behind everybody else when it comes t the battery tech being used 2) isn't as refned as the new more sopphisticated systems frm both vw/audi/porsche and GM. Lexus is behind in transmision technology, usuing no efficient dual cutch. not even is-f or lf-a. if lexus was so seriousoly serious abou efficency at all cost, why havent they come to market with the 1) constructon lighweight processes, 2) powertrain tech., 3) transmision tech why is it vw group gets no credit for being as efficient minded, yet is engaged in supercharging/turbocharging/direct injection/dual clutch/start.stop/hybrid/diesel, all of the above, all while Lexus is nothin more tha simply and soley hybrid, a system which doesnt eevn make efficient sense in some of thecars its fitted into (cough GS, LS, RX). where th outrage guys? get real. The entire point of this ad here, about "future proofing", is a joke...I'm surprised (or maybe not) the lexus fan fest here hasn't aditted this is almost as ridiculous as all of the LS's world firsts. Think what this means, and you'll understand its nothing more than straight marketing hyperbol. It is crazy we are taking it seriously. Of course this same system needs to be majorly reworked for any sort of aternativepowertplant. What they are actually touting is, again shockinly, no different from what most any other manuacture would, and is currently doing. I will also add, I find it funny everybody selectively seems to forget it was AUDI with the first mass manufactured hybrid, in 1988 with the Audi duo. Again, a Toyota enmulation.
        desinerd1
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Keven Fitzpatrick
        Couple of things: (I own a BMW so I'll compare Lexus vs BMW. Don't know much about Audi and Merc) 1. This article was about hybrids- not sports/performance cars. The two don't mix well. 2. Toyota might be using "old" technology in their hybrid system, but it's a proven technology. I have seen Prius with more than 100K miles on it and it still gives good mileage- without needing any battery change. What does BMW have? A so called Active Hybrid system, which only improves fuel economy by 2MPG and costs $13K. It won't even break even over the life of the car. 3. Lexus makes luxury cars. BMW makes performance cars. There's a difference. A luxury car has better interior finish and more standard features. A performance car has faster pickup/driving dynamics etc. BMW charges extra for each "luxury" feature that is more or less standard in Lexus - leather interiors, bluetooth, iPod compatibility, keyless entry, driver seat memory etc. If you like the thrill of speeding out ahead of others when light turns green, then get a performance car. Most people (including the ones who own BMWs) don't do that. They drive it like a regular car. I live on east coast and the maximum speed limit around is 70mph. I don't care if M5 has 500hp and can go upto 150mph. I don't need that. After my BMW gets old, I'll get a Lexus or a Genesis. 4. I don't know what clutch technology or transmission technology BMW uses, but a) I can hardly tell the difference between that and a regular car b) it is not fuel efficient. X5 with it's turbocharged engine gives 23mpg while RX gives 24mpg without turbocharger. 5. About weight reduction - X5 weighs 4960lbs. RX weighs 4343lbs or 600lbs less. So yeah, it's a good thing BMW is shedding weight, because it needs to. 6. Facts - before the earthquake, Lexus sold more cars/SUVs in US than BMW or Audi or Mercedez. You can look up the numbers if you don't believe me. I'm pretty sure it is the same in Japan. 7. Lexus has been around for 20 years. BMW has been around for almost a hundred. Lexus is not even available in a lot of countries. So when you say it has a miniscule market share in global luxury market, this is probably the reason.
          desinerd1
          • 3 Years Ago
          @desinerd1
          PS: I'm not really a fan of Toyota, but after owning a BMW for 6 months, my experience with it has been really poor.
        Keven Fitzpatrick
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Keven Fitzpatrick
        Moving along, its a fact lexus isn't separate like Audi. Its a fact they have far more straight rebades than audi (which ha NONE). Again, the HS is a straight rebadge from the JDM. The GX is a straight rebadge of the toyota prado. Not ONE distinction but the badge. the land cruiser makes a little more attempt, but is still nothing more than a dearborn-inspired brand job. Imagine the outcry if audi sold an suv here that was identicle to vw sold around the world. Its funny how lexus gets a free pass on this. They are actually selling toyota's badged as Lexus. That should tell you everything you need to know about the dillution and confusion of the lexus brand and what it does (or doesnt) stand for. it is literaly, toyota's luxury nameplate, right down to the same dime store digital clock in the LS you can find in a Corolla or scion. or the overhead door pulls straight from acamry, but wait, with one strip of plastic chrome. even the nav system is no diferent. not even close to the distinction in every audi model from vw. then you have the poor driving dynamkcs. funny how the is-f,a car thats nice, but isnt an m3, c63, or rs4 for anything but being competitive numbers wise but failing in 1) feel 2) packaging, 3) looks, 4) suspnsion livability (rock hard) 5) and again packaging, is now the official excuse for th lackluster driving, a specialty car that makes up less than half a percent of total sales. how bout actually tuning some competence into the es or rx, the two models which overwhelmingy support the brand. the gs is a sales disaster for being boring and inferior in most every way. its funny, the average selling selling price of a lexs is so far below that of mb and bmw...because the brand is a value oriented brand, not one known for pushing the rules of the respective classes it competes it. you get what you pay for -good enough for americans. lastly, as far as "qualiy" is concerned, well, there is more to it than js simply cost of ownership. material quality wise, Lexus has lagged in the last decade. funny the n. american press doesnt commnt on the hard plastics on the doors of a es/is/gx/rx, plastic no better than that from the 2011 jetta they despise so much. the comparable bmw and audi have sft touch materials where lexus uses hard, and honestly, all lexus interiors either look hoplssly generic and uninspied (and unsophsticated), like the gs, ls, is,or bizarrey too much (gx/rx). the hs and ct have too many hard plasticswhere you dont look. they now get away with it saing they are being eco friendsly. oh geeze, sometimes you cant win. point is, lexus is good at spining itself into something its not...whether its uneccearily stringing a line of cars up in the air by a crane (i assure you, the structual integrity of any other competitor would allow for the same "experiment), or wrapping them in the identity as an innovator, when they really arent, and have never been one.
          desinerd1
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Keven Fitzpatrick
          Like I said in my other post. Lexus is a luxury car and BMW/Audi/Mercedez are more performance oriented cars. They market themselves like that. A 328i can go from 0-60 in 6.4 seconds, ES does the same in 7 seconds. Specs aside, in day to day use, most people don't drive like that. On my commute to work, I see lots of people driving these performance cars just like the regular traffic. I don't see them jump ahead of traffic after a green light. My point is, despite BMW adding all the cool behind the scenes technology (transmission, turbocharger, dual-clutch etc), most people don't make use of it. It just ends up adding weight and cost, which brings me to my next point - maintenance costs. BMW gives 4 yrs of free maintenance, but beyond that, it is too expensive to maintain. My local BMW dealer charges $700 to change the break pad. For Lexus, the same costs $150. Tires only last 20000 miles on a BMW, but on a Lexus they last twice as much. Why? Not only is it expensive to maintain a BMW, they are also less reliable. Lexus does use the same drivetrain as Toyota cars, but what it adds is features. BMW doesn't do that. 328i is not a luxury car, not unless you add all the upgrades, most of which are standard in Lexus and BMW does charge a lot.
          rlchang0
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Keven Fitzpatrick
          I own a 2007 IS250. Times it has stranded me? Once for 20 minutes with a dead battery. My friend owns a 2007 330i. She has been stranded 4 times, and been in limp mode 3 times. We have about the same mileage, around 100K. My IS gets 24 mpg combined, the exact same rating as a Audi A4 TFSI with the fancy DSG. The CT200h gets 42 mpg combined while the A3 TDI gets 34-35 mpg. A LS600h costs the same as an S550 and is faster and gets better mileage and qualifies as a SULEV. Why harp on the technology used if the results are the same? I'll give you the navigation on audi is pretty slick compared to lexus, they lag pretty badly in this area. Styling, interior and exterior is subjective. I've sat in an R8, A8, A5, A4 and just don't understand why everyone raves about the interior quality and materials except in the A8, which is truly a cut above. The A4 is a sea of black and silver plastic. And please don't use the strawman argument of "it sells the most, it must be the best." That would make Coca-Cola the best soft drink, Windows the bext operating system, the RX the best luxury CUV, and BMW the best luxury car brand. You can't have just one.
          adam512
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Keven Fitzpatrick
          Well you just proved you know nothing at all, How on earth is AUDI seperate first of all, :S and secondly the LEXUS HS (although pointless now that the CT is here), was designed and released in America before the JDM equivalent TOYOTA SAI was released :) Not that im being biased to any car maker, Just dont lie about your facts mate :)
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        hey dude7
        • 3 Years Ago
        Oh yeah,let us use the alternative, bikes..!those are the future,, moron..!
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