It was going to be interesting to see how Lexus marketers this year finessed their annual “December to Remember” sales-event campaign, given that dealers have so few cars to actually sell this season.
The answer: In its just-released advertising, Toyota’s luxury brand pretty much has stuck to its creative theme of years past — focused on a household’s joyous reaction to that big red bow appearing in the driveway — while the differences basically remain in the fine print.
The two TV ads feature kids reacting gleefully to a Lexus in the snow, with somewhat different approaches. But in its creative consistency with the mood of Christmas campaigns in previous years, Lexus is demonstrating its resolve not to give up the formidable December to Remember franchise to some little supply-chain problem caused by a microchip shortage.
“All of these concepts were created when there was no shortage of supply,” Mia Phillips, senior manager of advertising and media for Lexus, told me. “It just so happened that the message resonated more now, because dealers have fewer vehicles. We didn’t have to pivot 180 degrees to the past to fit this environment.”
Indeed, one spot, “Wonderland,” focuses on a tween enlisting his friends to collect seasonal decorations in his dad’s 2022 Lexus NX F Sport to transform the town square into a winter wonderland. The red bow is tangential, and the commercial does anything but shout, “Come in to your Lexus dealer now to buy an SUV that you can’t get!” The red bow makes only an oblique appearance.
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The other spot Lexus released, “Runway,” is more in the brand’s traditional December to Remember mode by focusing on the joy experienced by a family around the arrival of a new Lexus in front of their house. A girl tries to guide Santa Claus to their house — for a Lexus delivery — by turning her driveway into a holiday-light-filled runway. On Christmas morning, she exclaims, “It worked!” as she wakes up to a 2022 Lexus ES F Sport topped with the signature red bow.
Phillips said “what really was at work” in forming the creative for these two spots was “that everyone has waited all year long for some sense of normalcy to return.” The “Runway” spot seemed like a normal December to Remember effort, she said.
Lexus also is emphasizing kids during the campaign by providing a $300,000 donation to Boys & Girls Clubs of America. Locally, Lexus dealers are surprising local clubs across the country with gifts delivered under a big red bow.