Monday, October 22, 2007

Car fight!

I've always considered Lexus' ads to be, if not super pretentious, at least totally unrealistic. For example, every year they run some holiday ad where people walk outside their houses to find a Lexus with a huge bow on it sitting in the driveway, because a car that costs more than the average American makes in a year is a perfectly sensible Christmas gift.

This ad, however, is definitely pretentious:

What was even the point? If the Lexus is too classy for moves pulled directly from The Fast and the Furious, why are you advertising it that way? It's almost... gosh, it's almost as if you're reacting to something...

Well, well.

The Audi ad is kind of catty - it's a shot at Lexus' self-parking car - but it at least exhibits a sense of humor distinctly missing from the Lexus response ad, which prefers to stick to Lexus' well-hewn "haughty arrogance" niche rather than be particularly witty or clever. I suppose there's no real need for Lexus to do anything "cool" with their campaign - Lexuses (Lexi?) have a certain target demographic and it's not one necessarily known for its irreverent sense of humor.

Nevertheless, the straightforward response to Audi's ad is both obnoxious - with the arrogant voice-over and opera music - and kind of misses Audi's point. Audi used the "sweet spot" parking job as an eye-catching tool, simply as a device to point out that most people shouldn't need help parallel parking (there was probably also some implied comment about the size of the average Lexus in there, although I imagine most Lexus buyers like that aspect of the cars). Lexus' response suggests that they focused more on the showmanship of the parking job itself, as though what Audi was really claiming was that you couldn't do donuts in a Lexus. "This'll show those fuckers!" Lexus cried, deciding to start their ad with the very same donuts that Audi didn't show in their ad. (For good measure, Lexus spells it "doughnuts," just to make sure you know they're better than you are.)

I'm all for ad battles - usually any company taking potshots is aiming so far above its station that there's no need for the other company to respond - but it would be nice if they weren't so one-sided. Lexus' seemingly non-existent sense of humor just leaves them looking like they brought a knife to a gunfight.


Andrew N.P. said...

When I first saw the Lexus ad, I thought it was okay. Sweet moves plus tongue-in-cheek arrogance equal the message, "This car is both classy and sporty."

But after seeing the Audi ad, my respect for Lexus's marketing team dropped several notches. They make fun of your Park Assist, and this is how you respond? If ads were debates, you'd be penalized big time for this non sequitur.

On the plus side, the Audi ad is genuinely cool, so thanks for the find.

Windier E. Megatons said...

Yeah, the whole "we CAN do it, we just don't WANT to" thing would be a lot funnier if it weren't this obviously petulant response to Audi's ad. I wouldn't have suspected Lexus to have much of a sense of humor and the Audi ad just confirms that fact.

Anonymous said...

i despise the ads AND the cars. Pretentious styling. I just hate them specially the RX's that every wanna-be around here drives. Over-priced crap. The grille reminds me of a smug man grinning. I say the L is for Loser.