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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Lexus Ad Campaign

Lexus Ad Campaign

I have to smile when I see the latest television ad campaign for Lexus.  For me it’s proof that even real smart folks can come up with some really silly ideas.  Even more than that, there were marketing people at Lexus who not only liked the ad campaign, but succeeded in selling it to management.  It just shows that even big companies make really dumb choices.

In case you’ve missed the ad I’m talking about, it’s the one heralding the great engineering achievements of Lexus and how they are evidence of their many important contributions to the evolution of the automobile.  What are these great advances that have revolutionized the automobile?

It’s hard to repeat them without laughing out loud.  It’s the car that nearly parks itself.  It’s the car that detects someone walking nearby that might be in danger.  It’s the 8, or is it 9, speed automatic transmission.  The ad says that Lexus has contributed 12 great innovations to the development of the automobile.  I have yet to see what the other great innovations are, and I don’t anticipate seeing them as I suspect they are even more ludicrous than the three they are currently touting.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure it was difficult and time consuming to develop a car that can nearly park itself, a car that can detect humans potentially in danger and a 9 speed automatic transmission, but come on!  These technically complicated accomplishments are hardly earth shaking.

The car that nearly parks itself costs more than $100,000.  It’s hardly something that the everyday car buyer can afford.  It belongs more in the category of a Rube Goldberg invention than a landmark automotive innovation.  

Lexus clearly makes a great automobile.  My wife drives one, and although I believe the electronic technology is over intuitive, it is a fine automobile.

However, if Lexus doesn’t want me to laugh out loud at its so called landmark contributions to the automobile industry, it needs to tout real innovations such as the creation of the V8 engine, the automatic transmission, four wheel hydraulic brakes, mass production, seat belts, etc.  Henry Ford’s V8 engine was truly revolutionary, especially in light of the fact that he did not have a computer to help him determine the correct firing order to limit vibration.  The introduction of four wheel hydraulic brakes was a dramatic improvement in safety and allowed the average driver to drive at much higher speeds with greater security and safety for his family.  The automatic transmission was revolutionary and made driving a car much, much easier.  Ford’s development of mass production changed the automobile from being excessively costly into being available to the average American.  Seat belts, courtesy of NASCAR racing, saved millions of lives.  All of the above were truly revolutionary advances in the automobile industry.

Lexus has taken hyperbole to a new level in its current advertising campaign.  It’s ridiculous and silly at the same time.

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