LOS ANGELES — Lexus has overhauled its annual "Taste of Lexus" national roadshow, once the last word in relationship marketing for luxury-vehicle brands.
Brand executives decided they weren't getting enough bang for their buck. Lexus expects to get better results by hosting fewer customers at events that are more frequent, better focused — and less lavish.
In 1999, Toyota's luxury brand began throwing shindigs for invited prospects at racetracks and airfields. The events combined closed-course test drives with musical talent and trendy, catered food from celebrity chefs. The eight-stop tours cost about $1 million per city and drew about 2,000 customers at each event. The tour grew to 14 cities and was imitated by many luxury brands.
Now, rather than whistle-stops featuring the entire model lineup, Lexus is holding more — and smaller — events with specific products aimed at a targeted crowd.