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Lexus sparks creativity through musical, multichannel campaign

The first IS 500. Image courtesy of Lexus


Toyota Corp.’s Lexus is paying tribute to creativity and innovation in automotive engineering through a new video series.

For the “Emotional Sparks” campaign, the Japanese automaker teamed with several artists to create an original song and music video. The campaign will run on television, as well as digital, social, print and out-of-home.

“Lexus is inspired by people,” said Vinay Shahani, vice president of marketing at Lexus, Plano, TX.

“How people experience our products, and the world at large, influences our engineering,” he said. “In this campaign, we aligned with artists who also seek to inspire in their respective fields and appreciate the spark of creativity that can come from unexpected places, like the driver’s seat of an intuitive, innovative luxury vehicle.”

Sparks fly
The centerpiece of the campaign is the track and video for “No Ceiling.” Lexus has also released four 30-second television spots that feature the individual collaborators, as well as a song excerpt and details about its development.

Now available on streaming platforms, the song was created by three-time Grammy nominated, American record producers and songwriting duo Nova Wav; Korean-American R&B artist Audrey Nuna and Argentinian freestyle rapper Ecko. Dancer and choreographer Zak Ryan Schlegel helped bring the song to life for the accompanying music video, which was directed by Sebastian Strasser.

The new Lexus campaign is a joint creative effort

As part of the campaign, the artists each had firsthand experiences with new Lexus vehicles, including the LS 500h, the NX plug-in hybrid and the first IS 500. These experiences served as inspiration for the new track.

The “No Ceiling” music video begins with the crackle of electricity before an aerial shot reveals an intricate highway and overpasses. Ecko is then seen leaning against an IS 500, writing down rhymes.

The scene then cuts to producers Nova Wav spinning records in their studio. A text message bubble pops up, as the duo sends the beat to Ecko and Ms. Nuna – putting the collaboration in motion.

As the tempo picks up, Ms. Nuna’s singing becomes more confident and is juxtaposed against Ecko’s Spanish rhymes.

“Soy una persona eléctrica,” Ecko raps. “Tengo el mundo en mis manos.” This translates to “I am an electric person; I have the world in my hands.”

A montage shows each artist working on their aspect of the project, contrasting scenes of dance rehearsals and the like with shots of the creatives accelerating and joyriding in the stylish Lexus vehicles.

The music video ends with the collaborators coming together for a final recording session. The final frames show a group of dancers moving hypnotically next to the IS 500 from the opening scene, with a city skyline in the background.

Lexus will air four accompanying spots on television, teasing the track.

“Plug In, Play Loud” follows Nova Wav as they listen to Ms. Nuna’s vocals in the 2022 NX plug-in hybrid. The singer appears in “Hands to the Sky,” where she is behind the wheel of the 2022 LS 500h.

“La Vida Rapida” follows Ecko, enjoying the F Sport performance of the IS 500. Finally, “The Asphalt Stage” shows how Mr. Schlegel’s choreography was inspired by features of the NX 350h.

The spots end with the tagline “innovation means nothing, unless it sparks something” with variations for technology and performance.

Audrey Nuna lends her vocals to the new track, “No Ceiling.” Image courtesy of Lexus

To reach large and diverse audiences, the “Emotional Sparks” ads will air during primetime, late night and sporting events, including the NFL, college football, NHL and Premier League. Lexus is also taking the campaign to other media channels.

In another show of support for creativity, Lexus is partnering with Playbill, The Times Square Alliance and The Broadway League as the automotive presenting sport of “Curtain Up!” The three-day celebration marks the return of Broadway, an important cultural and economic event in New York’s economic recovery (see story).

Creativity meets engineering
Lexus is one of many luxury brands that has explored the relationship between creativity and the automotive world, particularly through music.

In February, British automaker Jaguar Land Rover collaborated with American DJ and producer MK for the initial launch of its F-Pace campaign. The campaign features a series of artists from music and entertainment to photography and fashion showcasing the Jaguar brand commitment to support the creative industries.

MK also curated an exclusive Spotify playlist inspired by the Jaguar F-Pace. The music collaboration marked the start of an ongoing partnership between Jaguar and Sony Music UK 4th Floor Creative that aims to showcase emerging creative talent (see story).

In 2019, German automaker Mercedes-Benz teamed with recording artist The Weeknd to introduce its first all-electric vehicle to a younger audience. Abel Tesfaye, better known by his stage name The Weeknd, served as the creative director and star of a series of films surrounding the EQC (see story).