Lexus is the latest automaker to add itself to the advertising lineup of this year’s Super Bowl, which is expected to garner more than 100 million viewers on Feb. 5.
The automaker coyly tacked the announcement on the back end of a press preview at the North American International Auto Show last week which showed off the luxury automaker’s new flagship sedan, the LS 500. A video introducing the vehicle at the auto show was full of fire and brimstone and a slightly sinister creator.
Jeff Bracken, Lexus group vice president and general manager, said the Super Bowl ad will feature the brand's new voice, actress Minnie Driver. He did not reveal creative details but said the ad will feature "a few surprises.” The ad, from Team One, will showcase the LS and LC.
This is not a one-off for Driver, a Lexus spokesperson confirmed. Her voice will return in future spots, but there is no plan to show the actress.
Beyond its driving dynamics and innovative technology, the new LS embraces two fundamental elements of its Japanese roots, according to Bracken.
The first is “omotenashi,” or Japanese hospitality, and the second is Takumi master craftsmanship that lives at the heart of Lexus’ production quality.
“For example, this is reflected in subtle touches, such as beautiful interior ambient lighting, inspired by Japanese lanterns, and armrests that appear to float next to the door panel,” he said at the press conference.
Lexus is owned by Toyota, which has been a regular Super Bowl advertiser but is sitting out this year. Lexus has intermittently run Super Bowl spots in recent years, including in 2015 and 2012.
Lexus joins Kia, Honda and Audi, who have each announced plans to run an ad during “the big game.”
Kia won’t divulge if we will be delighted with more hamsters or intrigued by actor Christopher Walken (who was featured in last year’s spot.) “As of now, all we can confirm is that Kia will have an ad in the Super Bowl and it will feature the 2017 Kia Niro,” according to a spokesman for the automaker, which made quite the splash at the auto show with the reveal of the super sexy Kia Stinger sports car. AOR David&Goliath is creating the Super Bowl spot.
Honda returns to the Super Bowl with the all-new Honda CR-V, which is celebrating its 20th birthday. The spot, from RPA, will build on last year’s Ridgeline pickup introduction, the automaker says.
This is the third time CR-V will be featured during the big game, including the 2012 launch of the previous generation CR-V in a commercial paying homage to a well-known coming-of-age character in “Matthew’s Day Off,” and following the CR-V’s first appearance in 1997. Last year’s highly successful "A New Truck to Love" ad introduced the new Ridgeline pickup to Queen's iconic "Somebody to Love," generating more than 100,000 hand raisers for Honda’s innovative new truck.
Details are even more scarce for Audi, which ran “The Commander” during last year’s game. That spot featured the automaker’s supercar flagship of its Audi Sport models, the Audi R8.
This year’s Detroit auto show press days were kind of dull, in part because most of the news was presented under embargo and there weren’t many surprises. So the mystery around the Super Bowl spots is kind of fun and harkens back to the old days where you actually had to watch the game to see the ads.
A little suspense never hurt anyone, right?