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Lexus creates social buzz for ES via tech startup campaign

September 27, 2012


Toyota Corp.’s Lexus is pushing the 2013 ES model's updated technology and style through a Facebook application and additional social media promotions to let users vote for their favorite startup projects that the automaker will support with a monetary donation.

The automaker chose Facebook to host the “Lexus Ignition” campaign because it is its largest digital community, per Lexus. This campaign could potentially have a broad reach through Lexus’ use of social media channels beyond Facebook and mobile-optimized voting.

“Lexus' objectives for the initiative are two-fold,” said Jessica Georgopoulos, digital marketing planner at Lexus, Torrance, CA. “First, we created a platform that undeniably supports the 'Pursuit of Perfection,' both for our brand and eight inspiring entrepreneurs perfecting their own dreams.

“Secondly, Lexus Ignition opens a dialogue between Lexus and a community of tech-savvy, digitally-connected, aspirational individuals who want to make a positive difference in the world – just as Lexus does,” she said.

Starting from scratch

Lexus will give $25,000 to support four technology start-up products – a $100,000 total donation – chosen by Facebook users in its Lexus Ignition app.

The efforts also center on the 2013 Lexus ES. The campaign is meant to show the parallels between the technology and style used in the products and the vehicle, per Lexus.

Starting this week, Lexus will feature two products per week and users can vote for their favorite. The campaign will last for four weeks.

The winner at the end of each week will receive up to $25,000 in funding from Lexus.

Lexus Ignition Facebook app 

This week, the SolarPop portable solar-powered smartphone and tablet charger is up against the Stabil-I pocket-sized video stabilization case for smartphones.

Each contender is represented with a video that introduces the inventor of the product and its functionality.

Stabil-I video

Other startup projects include the Carbon Fiber Folding Electric Bike, Vers 2Q Bluetooth stereo sound system, Urban Fidelity Airflow Mini Speakers and Subwoofer featuring artwork from independent artists and eco-wood construction, Soloshot mobile video recorder that tracks movement without a cameraman, Botiful X telepresence robot and SpnKix M stand-up and sit-down scooter.

The Lexus Ignition app also links to the ES section of the automaker’s Web site at

SolarPop video

Channeling consumers

The Lexus Ignition campaign is reaching consumers through social media channels including Twitter, Google+ and YouTube, but primarily Facebook.

A Facebook app was chosen to host the campaign due to the Open Graph platform that helps the eight inventors rally support for their products, per Lexus. Subsequently, social outreach by Lexus and the contestants will lead back to the Facebook app.

Lexus created a custom URL at that leads to the Facebook app on a desktop computer as well as a mobile-optimized site when accessed on a smartphone. The automaker is including the URL in most of its digital outreach for Lexus Ignition.

The automaker is also using sponsored tweets and promoting the campaign hashtag to Twitter users.

Meanwhile, Lexus’ push for the 2013 ES is touching quite a few channels including television, print, digital, mobile and outdoor advertising.

Print, outdoor and online advertising will support the TV campaign while vehicle imagery and the commercials are also being spread via Lexus’ social media channels (see story).

Additionally, Lexus is building brand awareness through an integrated campaign with Zynga’s Draw Something mobile app that allows users to play with the ES model’s colors and Lexus-themed words.

It is the first automaker to use this level of advertising within the gaming app (see story).

With the addition of the Lexus Ignition campaign to its multichannel push, Lexus hopes to spread the word about the ES model to audiences that are tech-savvy, entrepreneurial and are interested in future technologies, per Ms. Georgopoulos.

“The entirely new Lexus ES represents the latest in Lexus design and next-generation technologies,” Ms. Georgopoulos said. “We wanted to share our passion for innovation and design by creating a competition that supported entrepreneurs with their own high-style and high-technology products.

“We know luxury consumers are digitally connected and gravitate towards aspirational ventures in startups and new technologies,” she said. “Lexus Ignition is intended to be the vehicle for entrepreneurs and their community to engage with us and dialogue about their passion and creativity.”

Final Take
Tricia Carr, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York