Lexus is hitting the road with a grassroots program developed with concert and event promoter Live Nation that involves Lexus sponsorship of a series of marquee arena concerts called "Lexus Luxury Out Loud." The slate of concerts in New York, Chicago, Boston, Atlanta and Los Angeles is running through the spring and summer, comprising 16 concerts at 11 venues. Performers include The Black Keys, Fall Out Boy, Beyonce, Train and Fleetwood Mac.
On-site activations include "Lexus Red Carpet" at each venue, where attendees can walk the red carpet while paparazzi take their pictures. There's also a promotional element wherein two attendees can get upgraded VIP tickets.
Attendees who take photos can also text their Lexus Red Carpet photos, and any pictures they take during the concerts to a designated number. The photos will be posted on the in-house video screens throughout the venue.
The company says that in markets where public transportation or taxis are used, all concertgoers will have the opportunity to register for a chance to win a complimentary ride home in a Lexus vehicle.
The Lexus Red Carpet area will also have Lexus vehicle displays, with a particular focus on the new IS sport sedan, and product specialists to field questions. A spokesperson for the automaker tells Marketing Daily that the vehicles shown at the concerts will be up the regional offices, "and they will coordinate the displays as they best fit their market and the musical act, so it will be a variety of vehicles." In addition, each Lexus experience will include a pre-show VIP cocktail hour with complimentary hors d’oeuvres and refreshments, VIP seating or tickets near the stage and a chance to walk the Lexus Red Carpet plus a VIP gift bag.
There will be some concert tickets for dealers to invite their VIP customers. But the Lexus spokesperson points out that the tickets are being sold through Live Nation, just like regular concerts. "We don’t have it on Lexus.com or a microsite because it’s really an on-site activation for people who are attending the concerts."
Lexus has done music and concerted-related sponsored concerts before, including with Paul McCartney and Alicia Keys. "Also, we’ve done vehicle displays and 'Lexus Listening Lounges' at various venues. The Lexus Out Loud series is an opportunity to connect with a wide variety of customers in key markets during peak concert season and help create a Lexus experience for those on site."
This all aligns with Lexus' shift from a focus solely on precision, and quality to a more futuristic, emotional position around "Engineering Amazing." Marketing and advertising is also a lot more about emotion and aesthetics -- the Lexus Web site touts experimental art and video as much as the vehicles and there are microsites about Lexus' "L Studio" video program, and lifestyle and music, fashion and films, including sponsoring spoken word/poetry events called "Verses and Flow."
This change is concomitant with Lexus' new vehicle design language that follows a trend in which automakers are thinking a lot more about how their vehicles look and "feel." Advertising is also more about new technology -- also critical now, as solid quality and reliability are becoming table stakes and automakers are in the midst of a technology arms race.