'Tis The Season For Big Red Bows
We chat with Lexus about the brand's December to Remember campaign
Web2Carz Senior Writer
Published: December 20th, 2011
Anyone who’s watched TV during the holidays over the past decade or so has seen the Lexus ads where the protagonist surprises a loved one with a brand-new luxury car parked in the driveway, complete with a red bow on top, all while holiday music swells in the background. It’s all part of Lexus’ “December to Remember” sales event.
We spoke to Lexus Vice President of Marketing Brian Smith about the campaign, which has been around since 1999. Thanks to their frequent airplay, the Lexus ads get a lot of attention, especially in this time of economic uncertainty. Not all of it is friendly—comedians have mocked the ads, competing makes have spoofed them, and at least one writer has ranted about the ads promoting excess during an economic downturn.
Lexus is aware of that, Smith said in an e-mail.
“Yes, we know that our ads have been spoofed by other companies and it can be entertaining. We recognize that the big red bow is very iconic at this time of year and, ultimately, people recall the Lexus ads,” Smith said. Smith also said that it’s not necessarily about the car—it’s about the emotion.
“There is an element of sentimentalism during the holiday season where people want to give something special to a loved one,” Smith said. “While it may not be buying a car, that feeling of finding the perfect gift is something we'd all like to achieve. The intention of the December to Remember ads is to tap into that emotion.”
According to Smith, the end of the year is a strong time for Lexus sales, and the campaign is built to take advantage of that. “December is one of the biggest months of the year for Lexus as people buy cars for various reasons, including strong incentives, leases ending, or for gifts. In some cases, a couple or family may already have decided to purchase a new car and one family member takes the opportunity to present it as a gift,” Smith said.
Lexus isn’t the only automaker pushing its wares at this time of year. This year, we’ve seen holiday-themed ads from Honda, Hyundai, Infiniti, and others. When asked if Lexus is worried about competitive pressure, Smith responds thusly: “The close of the year is always a very competitive time and it can be difficult to break through with your advertising. With the consistency of the big red bow ads, and the memorable Lexus jingle, Lexus ads tend to be instantly recognizable.”
Indeed, after ten years, they have become recognizable. Which, of course, is the idea in advertising. Lexus set out to “capture the excitement of giving and receiving during the holiday time,” and whether or not they’ve done that, they’ve certainly captured the public’s attention.
Smith says the ads have accomplished another goal: Boosting winter sales. “Generally, if someone leases a car in December, three to four years later they need a new car. So there is a steady flow of sales in December to meet that need. Additionally, the momentum created in December typically carries over well into January,” Smith said.
So that’s why automakers bombard us with holiday advertising. Keep that in mind if you see a Lexus with a big red bow on it in your neighbor’s driveway.
(Full disclosure: The author of this post once worked in the service department of a Lexus dealership).Related Vehicles: 2013 lexus gs 450h