Mad Science

Developing that message sometimes involves trial and error, which is where focus groups come in. “In addition to gaining a deeper understanding of how consumers feel about a particular model or advertising platform that we have developed, focus groups also provide us with a platform to explore similar relationships consumers may have with our competitors,” says Walton. “One of the things we try to understand is how consumers feel about the brand and how they are interacting with all forms of media. We like qualitative data because it can unveil a rich picture that often quantitative  data cannot. It helps us gain a better insight into their lifestyle dynamics.”

The research goes deeper. The team looks at specific sales by region and by product model to understand consumer purchasing patterns, and determine what is attracting consumers to certain models. If it applies, the team analyzes recall, as well as the use of creative to push a given model, and whether it’s moving the brand in the right direction. In the case of the CT 200h, Walton Isaacson wanted to bring younger consumers into the franchise. They evaluated the prior work of the brand to help develop creative that would appeal to this younger consumer segment. “Are people watching the commercials and remembering what brand is in the commercial? Are they being moved by the work? We look at a lot of different measures to see how we’re doing, and how we’ve done versus other spots that we’ve done in the past,” says Walton.

Then digital strategists, social media moderators, copywriters, account reps, and creative directors work with the client to develop a message that targets the particular consumer, and create a plan to deliver that message across various platforms. “There’s a whole mix because consumers don’t live in a channel. They live out in the real world, they’re walking to the bank, they’re watching TV, and they’re online,” explains Isaacson. “You want to make sure you’re putting out the right and most effective mix for your budget and for your audience.”

Moving the needle
The team developed four targeted television spots for the Lexus campaign, created events where consumers could experience the vehicle firsthand, and produced a digital campaign. One 30-second television spot shows the hybrid driving through a computer-generated three-dimensional landscape. The driver, a young man, guides the vehicle through constantly changing urban terrain to the beat of electro-pop music.

A similar Spanish-language spot was developed that shows the car driving through the streets of a city that looks much like Miami, past restaurants and nightclubs with young people taking notice. Print was well represented, as was radio. There were also events such as the Lexus CT Challenge, featuring actor Hill Harper, where attendees could drive the car through an obstacle course.

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