Lexus is launching season two of "Web Therapy," a short-form video series on Lexus' LStudio (www.LStudio.com), a broadband channel begun last September with an array of high-definition video entertainment, films, and information. It's also a site where one has to look hard to find Lexus branding and products.
The "Web Therapy" series, which stars a stable of "Friends" alumnae, is about a therapist -- loosely defined -- whose degree is in business administration and whose entire philosophy is that no therapy session should ever exceed three minutes. That, fortuitously, is about the length of each vignette.
Starring Lisa Kudrow as the pseudo-therapist, and well-known actors like Bob Balaban, Victor Garber, Courteney Cox and Alan Cumming as her clients, the show is a session-by-session dissection of Kudrow and clients, who get harried, disparaged, and demeaned by Kudrow's character, Fiona Wallace.
Robin Pisz, national interactive marketing manager for Lexus, tells Marketing Daily that the "Web Therapy" actors don't get scripts, only outlines, and they basically improvise each show.
The first season comprised 15 webisodes, which are available for viewing on the site. In the second season of the show, Wallace returns to face the dissolution of her marriage and two potential criminal investigations. Kudrow won a Webby Special Achievement Award for her performance in the series.
Other LStudio content includes Amy B. Harris' "Puppy Love"; "Films on L", a collection of short films from around the world; and content on art, design, music and modern life. Starting this week, all LStudio content is available on YouTube and Hulu. The company says season two of "Web Therapy" will also be available for download on iTunes starting Monday. Other new features include content sharing capability through sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
Pisz says the purpose is not to use entertainment to drive purchase funnel activity, at least not overtly. "We wanted to reach an audience that may not be considering Lexus; we wanted to engage them in areas where they are not in shopping mode, where they would have an association with Lexus, bringing them something new and refreshing."
She adds that product placement is subtle. "Our goal is not to put ads on here, but to engage and to entertain and get the association of Lexus with innovation." There is a link to LStudio on the lexus.com site, and Lexus is promoting the site largely through PR efforts and through Lexus' custom lifestyle magazine that goes to some 800,000 owners nationwide. "There are dealers who are sending out email newsletters to their customers, and we are, and we help them with content."
Pisz says Lexus chose to syndicate LStudio content on Hulu, iTunes and YouTube to increase awareness, buzz and incremental revenue through advertising. "When you don't have big buzz, you can't expect people to come to LStudio, so that's when we started a dialogue about syndicating; so we can get content out there where people go to view video. We want to generate exposure, eyeballs and revenue generation to reinvest in future content."
Also new is "Films on L" a section of the LStudio site where up-and-coming artists can screen new films. "Especially now, we are starting to get a lot of people connecting with us about ideas; we -- I -- am getting, a lot of pitches."
Intelligent Life Productions and Lexus' creative AOR Team One Advertising produced the content for the site.