NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. -- Sex, fun, party time.
That will be a new look for Lexus when its ad campaign breaks today, May 18, for the new IS convertible, the small four-seater that goes on sale this month.
The campaign will include 15-second national and 30-second regional spots that attempt to tease the imagination with various scenarios involving couples or friends -- like one of a sexy lady jumping into a stranger's car.
It's quite a turnabout for Lexus, which generally has presented straightforward, conservative spots, said Dave Nordstrom, the division's vice president of marketing.
The IS will be the first entry-level convertible for Lexus. Nordstrom said he believes it will attract new customers to Lexus, males and females from 25 to 49 years old.
"These ads are more edgy and youthful," Nordstrom said at a press event here. "Before, we always told a specific story about the car. Now it's about emotion."
Lexus' U.S. sales have fallen hard, down 37.4 percent through April. But Nordstrom said coupe and convertible models accounted for more than one-third of BMW 3-series sales last year, some of which he thinks Lexus can win. Lexus has had only one convertible, the high-end SC convertible hardtop, which accounted for a mere 310 of the brand's total 56,264 U.S. sales through April.
Nordstrom would not divulge the budget for the campaign. He said two-thirds of the budget will be spent on TV and the rest on print and interactive.
The 2010 IS 250C has a base price of $39,365, and the IS 350C is priced at $44,815. Both prices include shipping. Nordstrom expects to sell about 1,000 units a month.