In Lexus' market research, people familiar with the AMG and M divisions also knew of Lexus F. But owners of base-model luxury vehicles had far less recognition that Lexus had a performance line, said Brian Bolain, Lexus' corporate manager of marketing communications
"It's time to broaden awareness with more direct looks at our competitors," Bolain said.
He said Lexus wanted to expand its performance line's image "without offending our original buyers."
Like the cars themselves, the Lexus F commercial takes some outrageous turns for those accustomed to the brand's typically conservative creative work. There is plenty of tire chirping from the cars. A couple grinds and writhes in the rain. A man exits his IS F and enters a hotel with an attractive woman on each arm, past an appreciative, gawking bellman. The soundtrack is a knockoff of menacing English synthesizer band Massive Attack.
This is not your uncle's Lexus commercial.
It's not hard to see why Lexus wants more from its performance line. Not only does it give the overall brand a shot of racing authenticity, but the performance add-ons also make for much higher transaction prices and profit margins.
Even though BMW's M division represents barely 2 percent of the German automaker's U.S. sales, and Mercedes' AMG slightly under 3 percent, both brands benefit handsomely in terms of good will and perceptions. Meanwhile, Audi's S and RS models outsell both AMG and M divisions in unit count and in percentage of total sales.