The Super Bowl ad, called "Long Live the King," includes footage from the film, which stars Chadwick Boseman.
Lexus has product placement in the movie with another model, the 2018 Lexus LC 500 luxury performance coupe. The LS is not in the movie, so the ad includes specially shot footage. The spot shows Black Panther recovering stolen vibranium, a mythical ore found only in his African home, Wakanda. The ad's soundtrack is "Legend Has It" by Run the Jewels. It was directed by Samuel Bayer and shot in downtown Los Angeles at night.
This week, Lexus released a separate, co-branded spot with Marvel that plugs the film and the LC. The Lexus-Marvel collaboration also includes a graphic novel, Black Panther: Soul of a Machine, that was released last year at Comic-Con.
Super Bowl ads with superhero tie-ins are not new, of course. Marvel joined with Coke in 2016, for instance, in a spot that used Hulk and Ant-Man. And in 2005, Visa ran a spot featuring Captain America, Spider-Man and Thor.
The trick for brands is to make sure that the superheros don't overshadow their products.
Ericksen says Lexus ensured the car was integral to the ad. For instance, the spot showcases the car's handling dynamics, he says. "There will be some people that see that ad and may think more Black Panther than Lexus," he concedes. "But I think on whole, we are going to open up the Lexus LS to a massive amount of people that wouldn't have normally come across the LS."