Then they got creative and took a look at the nonconventional ways they could tap into Gen X and Gen Y consumers. The CT Remix program combined the music of the CT campaign with ringtones and music downloads from notable DJs and producers. “We released the music on iTunes, and a portion of the proceeds went to people that were impacted by the tsunami [in Japan],” says Walton. “We were promoting it in clubs so people heard the music in the club, they heard it at conferences; we really were trying to envelop them in a way that they understood what the brand message was all about.”
The strategy hit the mark, according to Lexus. “The messaging really focused on the fact that not only is this a car that gets 42 miles per gallon, but it’s also a car that you can have fun with,” says Brian Bolain, national manager of Lexus marketing communications. “If you look at the public perception of hybrids, oftentimes consumers believe—whether it’s right or wrong—that there’s some sacrifice that goes along with owning a hybrid. I think the work that Walton Isaacson created communicated that there’s no sacrifice involved with this car.”
At the end of the day, it’s about selling product. That’s the benchmark. Lexus had precise goals set for the CT 200h. The automaker wanted 30,000 hand-raisers—people expressing interest in the vehicle—identified by the time the car was available for purchase, particularly younger buyers. Once the vehicle hit the market, the sales target was 1,000 units per month. “We were at nearly 35,000 [hand-raisers] when we launched.” If you look at the average since we launched, we’ve been higher than 1,000 [units sold],” says Bolain. He adds that the CT 200h is on track to sell more units than planned for 2011. “We’re really happy with the sales results and we’re also happy to see that the median age of [consumers purchasing] that vehicle is dropping each month.”
Despite the economic climate, Walton Isaacson is forecasting a 40% increase to its top line, and the firm looks to continue to set itself apart from its competitors by effectively marrying creative talents with the science of the sell.