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Lexus taps Wall Street Journal readers through mobile ads

February 14, 2012


Toyota Corp.’s Lexus is using mobile banner ads to access The Wall Street Journal’s affluent reader base to promote its new 2013 GS model.

The automaker placed a banner advertisement on the newspaper’s mobile-optimized site yesterday. By leading consumers to an optimized landing page, Lexus will likely up sales with this latest effort.

“In my opinion, any marketing that targets mobile consumers can be effective, as long as the landing page for the click-through is optimized for the traffic and a mobile-specific action is expected,” said Wilson Kerr, vice president of business development and sales at Unbound Commerce, Boston.

“For luxury retailers, a mobile ad campaign might land a consumer on a mobile optimized store locator, since high value conversions are harder on mobile devices,” he said.

Mr. Kerr is not affiliated with Lexus, but agreed to comment as a third-party mobile expert.

Lexus was not able to respond by press deadline.

Driving traffic
The banner ad appeared in the U.S. edition of the Wall Street Journal’s mobile-optimized site.

The ad did not feature any images. Rather, it had a black background with white, turquoise and green text.

The message read, “From this car forward, there’s no going back. The All-New 2013 GS.”

The banner ad also contained the Lexus logo.

Tapping on the ad brought consumers to a mobile-optimized site that was dedicated to the 2013 GS model.

There was a menu option on the right-hand side that consumers could use to find specific information quickly, such as the performance, design or safety features.

A horizontal navigation bar gave consumers the option to view information for the GS 350, the GS 350 F sport and the GS 450h.

Otherwise, consumers could browse information by scrolling down on the screen.

Interestingly, one of the first things on each model's page is the price.

The GS 350 starts at $46,900 and the GS 350 F sport at $52,590. The price for the GS 450h, which will be available in May, has not yet been released.

Scrolling down an individual model’s site, consumers were presented information in horizontal sections that included overview, design, performance and technology.

Each section contained a picture and a paragraph text and the option to click to continue reading.

There is also a mobile-optimized video on the site that is dedicated to the new GS.

Paving the way
Lexus is using all of its digital platforms to promote the new GS.

For example, Lexus is taking advantage of the new features that Facebook has to offer by using Timeline for its “points of no return” tab, which focuses on the GS model (see story).

Through the tab, consumers can see the history of the GS from its conception in 2008.

Some points of interest on Lexus’ timeline include renderings of the GS in October 2008, testing of the new GS in February 2009 and the GS 2013 debut at Pebble Beach in August 2011.

Lexus is also no amateur when it comes to mobile advertising.

The automaker tapped mobile and Internet radio service Pandora last year to extend its Engineering Amazing campaign.

Lexus used billboard banner ads and animation displays on Pandora's homepage to encourage consumers to visit the Engineering Amazing Web site.

Indeed, mobile banner ads, either in an application or on a mobile site, are an effective way to reach affluent consumers (see story).

“Product- or line-specific campaigns are a great way to drive mobile traffic via mobile banner ads, as long as the mobile landing page has been designed to receive this traffic,” Mr. Kerr said.

“These branded mobile landing pages should be designed to convert incremental sales that can, in turn, be used to justify the price of the mobile campaign,” he said.

Final Take
Kayla Hutzler, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York