Lexus has been running its new advertising campaign heavily during the March Madness college-basketball tournaments that culminate in the next few days. But its “Lexus Electrified” initiative only marks the beginning of marketing the luxury marque’s determined transition to become the standard-bearer for battery-electric vehicles for Toyota Motor Co.
The giant Japanese automaker has been executing an accelerated if reluctant embrace of all-electric vehicles over the last several weeks since naming Koji Sato to take over as CEO from Akio Toyoda, the latter of whom was famously reluctant to go all-in on battery-electric vehicles.
“As a brand in the early stages of the EV-adoption curve, we haven’t had a full BEV yet,” Vinay Shahani, vice president of Lexus marketing, told me. “But in this campaign we’re showing an electrified concept vehicle that we first showed at [the Pebble Beach concours d’elegance] to signal where we’re going as a brand. This [campaign] is equally important to show our customers where we’re going, and to further down-age the brand.”
Ads in the campaign show how people are the inspiration behind the versatility of the Lexus electrified line of vehicles, which currently are hybrid models. In “Like Attracts Like,” the inaugural spot, a series of individuals on stages uses electricity in different ways to fuel their interests. A band jams in a room; a tennis player hits balls fired by an electric ball machine; a dancer wears a light-up suit. Lit cables trailing down from each stage serve as a metaphor for human electricity generating the power for Lexus innovation. The spot showcases Lexus’s electrified lineup, including the Electrified Sport Concept.
“When it comes to our guests’ mobility needs, we know that one size does not fit all,” Shahani said in a press release.That’s why we created an electrified driving experience with a variety of powertrains that can cater to and elevate any lifestyle.”
Shahani told me Lexus wants to underscore that it offers a variety of electrified options already, including the all-new RZ 450e SUV that launched early this year, an all-electric vehicle. “It’s got all you would expect from a Lexus in terms of luxury performance and feel, quietness in the cabin and intuitive infotainment,” he said.
Lexus was a pioneer with the first RX hybrid SUV about two decades ago, building on the company’s work in fielding one of the first hybrid vehicles, the Toyota Prius.
Among other results, Shahani expects Lexus’s increasing move into an identity as an electrified brand to lower the average age of its buyers, an effort that has been ongoing for several years anyway. Already, he said, Lexus is “seeing marked improvement in the percentage of registrations to ages 44 and under that we haven’t seen before. A lot is dependent on having the right product with the right technology, and certainly having battery-electrics will allow us to continue that shift toward a younger, more affluent guest.”