There’s no such thing as impossible. It’s just a matter of figuring out how. Haruhiko Tanahashi – Lexus Chief Engineer. These are the words that precede the viral video from Lexus on the creation of their new, real, workable hover board.
Sure it’s magnetised levitation and nitrogen cooled semiconductors making it anything but a commercialised product for now but it’s just so cool isn’t it?
Question one. Is it a marketing campaign?
Yes. There is no intention for Lexus to offer this to the public and I’d wager there are a number of hurdles to even considering this. It is a campaign and it’s designed to awaken the old Back to the Future fan in all of us as we see pro skater Ross McGouran navigate the magnetised skate park, purpose built for the video.
Question two. Then why?
Over a year and millions of dollars later, they have a cool skate park and hover board prototype. What’s that got to do with cars right? Well here are my thoughts for you to consider.
1. Lexus don’t want to be a car brand
Lexus desire to be a brand synonymous with innovation. It’s important to understand how significant this is for a brand that has not been known for this in the past. It really is a significant repositioning and this project is all about communicating to the market that they value invention and innovation almost more than they value cars. It’s a value that drives the way they do business. This is what they want to be recognised for, rather than just a car manufacturer. I think that’s smart and a nice differentiation from their upmarket competitors.
2. Lexus are looking to their future market
In recent years, you’ll notice that Lexus has worked hard to revamp their brand for a younger audience. I believe they’ve looked to the future and had some hard conversations internally around the relevance of the brand for a new generation. These conversations have brought about a significant shift in the way they present themselves to the market because there’s a clear need to engage the new generation of buyers. You’ll see this in the design of their cards, positioning of their messaging, the price points of their models and of course this new campaign clearly targeting a younger audience. CEO of Lexus had this to say:
“The bottom line is that Lexus is broadening its brand appeal across a far greater audience, so it was key to engage the audience with a more provocative, confident brand. – CEO, Lexus
3. This is the new Lexus
All this brings us to the launch of their rebrand in 2014, entitled “This is the new Lexus” pitched as leaving the “old luxury” category and entering the “progressive luxury” category. Brands change and evolve and it takes bold moves when you recognise the need to alter perceptions in significant ways. I wonder if we’ll see more of this from Lexus as they continue to broaden their market appeal, align with innovation and take market share.
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