Lexus has opted against an auto show stage for the revelation of its 2013 LS sedan. Instead the luxury division of Toyota, whose U.S. operations are in Torrance, Calif., is kicking the chocks from under the LS' wheels at an invitation-only event in San Francisco, featuring celebrity couples and a photo exhibition in which they are shown with the new vehicle.
The program, "Lexus Laws of Attraction," which will be extended in some fashion to local markets around the U.S., showcases the lens-work of Ellen von Unwerth who turned her Leica (don't all great photographers have an old Leica hidden somewhere?) on Jason Schwartzman and his wife Brady Cunningham; actress/model Jaime King and her filmmaker husband Kyle Newman; actress/model Devon Aoki and her husband financier James Bailey; along with Barney's New York Creative Ambassador Simon Doonan (famous for creating the Barney's New York window displays) and his husband, designer Jonathan Adler. The latter couple are also creative directors on the program with Adler showcasing elements of his lifestyle brand at the event.
All of the couples who participated in the shoot will be at the July 30 San Francisco exhibition, at which Strokes drummer Fabrizio Moretti will be DJ. The exhibition, which will also showcase the work of other top-drawer photographers, will be webcast at Lexus.com, the automaker's Facebook page, and at Twitter via #LexusAttracts.
“The Lexus Laws of Attraction photography exhibition is an exciting project for us because it showcases Lexus’ dedication to design,” said Mark Templin, Lexus group VP and general manager, in a statement. “It gives us the opportunity to introduce the LS and explore new ways to communicate Lexus’ message to a global audience.”
Lexus Prestige communications manager Nancy Hubbell says the company chose not to do a traditional auto show launch because "we really wanted to do something different since the LS is our flagship sedan. We've got a new look and feel to our cars, as well as our brand, so this was an opportunity to take a fresh approach to revealing the new LS." She adds that the guest list for the event also includes people in the art and design scene in San Francisco, bloggers, and international automotive journalists who will be test-driving the LS throughout the week.
Los Angles, Calif.-based ad and communications firm Inform Ventures, which has worked on Lexus, Toyota and Scion campaigns over the past decade, developed the "Lexus Laws of Attraction" program with auto event company George P. Johnson. Patrick Courrielche, co-founder of the agency, says the campaign aligns with Lexus' efforts to make design, craftsmanship and the more ephemeral idea of "sex-appeal" central to its brand position. "I think the photography aspect allowed us to explore the sex appeal aspect. From a pure marketing standpoint it allows us to get the vehicle into the artwork as well. That's important because you will often see an [automaker inspired] art project that has nothing to do with the vehicle. In this case the vehicles are incorporated in the photographs with the couples."
He says invitations to the event are going to Bay Area and Silicon Valley VIPs as well as lifestyle media from the U.S. and global markets like Russia, China, Japan, and Australia. "And we are planning smaller incarnations at other events across the country, some dealer centered, some like the Pebble Beach Concours D'Elegance."