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Lexus pushes ES through mobile gaming app integration

September 25, 2012


Toyota Corp.’s Lexus is building brand awareness among young consumers through an integrated campaign with Zynga’s Draw Something mobile application that allows users to play with the ES model’s colors and Lexus-themed words.

The automaker’s campaign in Draw Something runs for five days and includes integrated game components, in-app interstitial and banner ads and social sharing. Lexus is the first automaker to use this level of advertising within the gaming app, which will likely help it to reach consumers under 45 years of age.

“With the launch of the new Lexus ES, the company saw an opportunity to appeal to a younger mindset and reach influencers that want to make a statement,” said Ari Brandt, cofounder/CEO of MediaBrix, New York. “There is no better way to do so then to actively tap into the massive and dedicated user base of social gaming, specifically Draw Something in this case, where users spend countless hours creating and sharing drawings every month.

“With this campaign, Lexus set out to communicate that the 2013 Lexus ES is a stunning work of technology,” he said. “Not only will the stunning drawings that Draw Something players deliver engage them for hours, they will also continue to drive Lexus’ message home in front of this massive user base.”

Lexus, which was not available for comment before press deadline, chose MediaBrix to create its Draw Something game integration campaign.

Game time

This week Lexus is adding to the game options available in the Draw Something app with a custom word pack and color palette inspired by the 2013 Lexus ES.

After users create their Lexus drawing, they can post it to the Draw Something Facebook page where Lexus is choosing one drawing per day to be named the “Lexus Stunning Doodle of the Day.”

In addition, Lexus is using an interstitial ad that appears when users open the Draw Something app and during play to push its ES model.


Interstitial ad

The ad links to an optimized page where users can browse images, features, specifications and colors of the ES and ES Hybrid. There is also a section to browse ownership options.

Lexus is also linking to its ES color palette from banner ads that appear at the bottom of the app screen.

In-app banner ad 

The game will also feature video ads, per Mr. Brandt.

The campaign is meant to engage and educate users on the new features of the ES, including the spindle grille, angled headlamps and a more pronounced bumper, he said.

Young at heart

Lexus will likely target a young demographic through its recent use of mobile.

For instance, the automaker placed ads and videos on the Gems With Friends mobile gaming app through which players can check out a video of the new ES and connect to the Lexus Facebook page (see story).

In addition, Lexus created a branded Flipboard magazine and ran ads in Esquire’s Flipboard channels as part of a wider effort for the ES that encompasses television, Facebook, print and out-of-home channels (see story).

Also, the automaker looked to raise awareness for its 2013 RX F Sport during the season finale of prime-time ABC drama “Revenge” by offering viewers additional content and a chance to win a vacation package via Yahoo’s IntoNow mobile app (see story).

Through its Draw Something campaign, Lexus will reach drivers with a younger mindset aged 45 and under, per. Mr. Brandt.

“Not since the old days of television has advertising made this much of an impact for Fortune 500 marketers and luxury brands,” Mr. Brandt said. “Today, the only place marketers can find a truly captive audience is via social and mobile apps, especially games.

“The end result is that Lexus’ core target, and a very influential audience, will become more familiar with the new and aggressive ES façade,” he said.

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