automotive

Acura Effort Says Luxury Can Be Sensible

Acura ad spot

Luxury automaker Acura is using its spring sales campaign to contrast luxury tchochkes with its vehicles.

The automaker's "Driven by Reason Sales Event" campaign centers on TV spots showing a psychoneurotic montage of oddballs and their luxury purchase behaviors and obsessive-compulsive disorder around luxury attachments. Each ad then posits Acura vehicles as proof that a luxury purchase can also be a rational one. The campaign comprises six TV spots in the kind of heavy rotation normally reserved for vehicle launches.

The effort, via RPA division rp&, runs through the Fourth of July with the twin messages that Acura is the first and only manufacturer to have a full line of National Highway Traffic Safety Administration five-star crash-safety-rated vehicles; and that it is (per Acura) ranked by the Automotive Lease Guide as the top luxury brand in expected resale value.

Some of the ads show a pastiche of stereotypes of luxury consumers and their favorite toys. Speaking directly to the camera, these people try to sound completely reasonable about their utterly irrational acquisitions. One guy is explaining the wonders of his vacuum-tube amplifier, another the virtues of his watch made of Damascus steel, "the same kind they use in sword making," he says, explaining that his timepiece "has 680 moving parts, all hand made." The ads close with a shot of Acura vehicles and the VO: "There are excuses for spending money on luxury ... and then there are reasons."

Susie Rossick, Acura's manager of national advertising, says the effort was writ large in terms of creative and media to get people's attention during the cacophony of spring auto sale messages. "It's a commitment we made to the dealer network to support the sales event. We were really looking for something big to break through the clutter and really communicate Acura's take on luxury."

She adds that the message that buying an Acura is common sense is intended to address consumer uncertainty. "When you consider the economy right now, we wanted something that was going to be lighter in tone, but that gave you a reason to consider Acura because you don't have to do what [the characters in the campaign] are doing: making excuses for their purchase."

She says the TV ad buy for the campaign will reach 80% of Acura DMA's with a heavy buy on NBA broadcasts, and spot.

Print, radio, point-of-purchase and online advertising tout Acura's residual value and carry the safety-performance messaging. High-traffic placements will run on auto Web sites such as Kbb.com, Yahoo Autos and AOL Autos. Sales event creative will drive users to the models' shopping page on Acura.com.

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