Do the Lexus ‘December to remember’ TV spots bother you?

I only ask because they really bother me. As a marketing guy I am well aware of the luxury market and its unique aspects and allure to marketers. Lexus has been running these spots for several years now. Somehow I was half-expecting that in this year of ‘Occupy Wall Street’ and the 1% vs. the 99% that Lexus might tone down a bit or even move in a different direction. Apparently that is far from the case seeing this year’s spots –

The spots must be working or else Lexus would not run the spots year after year. Or at least that’s what my rational right brain is telling me. Yet in an article published in Adverting Age today (December 15th) the very effectiveness of those Lexus (and other automobile ads) spots were called into question. Finally, I might add.

The snob-appeal aspect of the Lexus spots is what rankles me more than anything else. Were I to be in the market for a luxury vehicle – or more properly in the market to purchase a luxury vehicle for my wife, I cannot fathom going out and buying one without discussing it with her. Assuredly there are people that can afford to buy a luxury car for cash and without any concern for the cost. But that market as attractive as it might be cannot be large enough to sustain a luxury automobile brand by itself. So if I were to buy a car for my spouse what I’d have to explain would be the $ 800/month car payment and increased insurance. I firmly believe this would NOT put a smile on the face of my wonderful wife.

Clearly the Lexus spots are intended to generate aspirational feelings to join the well-heeled crowd and drive the car you’ve always dreamed of. By the way there is never a mention of price or affordability. Which is the point really since the apparent target audience would be unconcerned with the actual cost of a Lexus. I will aver that if I were wealthy enough to consider buying a luxury vehicle for my wife the last thing I would do, would be to buy it, put it in the driveway with a big red bow on top and then say -Surprise honey!

I will go out on a limb and say that most of the successful people I know are low-key and do not like to flaunt their success and certainly not in a blatantly ostentatious manner displayed in the Lexus spots.

How about you – what do you think of the Lexus TV spots?

About markkolier

Futurist, entrepreneur, left lane driver, baseball lover
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8 Responses to Do the Lexus ‘December to remember’ TV spots bother you?

  1. Pete says:

    Wow. I could have written the very same blog. I don’t like the ads and every time I see them I think “What a great way to get a divorce, make a big purchase without ever consulting my wife”.

    “I will go out on a limb and say that most of the successful people I know are low-key and do not like to flaunt their success” I totally agree here. I have known many very wealthy (through successful start-ups) people and almost none of them flaunt it. The one’s I see flaunting stuff are the wanna-be’s.

    Great post.


  2. Mark — couple of thoughts.

    As you might recall — I do advertising and marketing for Mercedes-Benz and BMW. And though these two companies do advertise in the Christmas season — their messages are a little different than Lexus. I am not a huge fan of Santa-esque advertising for luxury vehicles — but given the season, it makes it difficult to have a non-holiday related spot.

    What Lexus has created in my mind over the past, seems like close to a decade, with this campaign is beyond inspirational. The December to Remember line is really the only memorable campaign by a major auto retailer that I can remember. Can you think of what Ford, GM, Mercedes, Honda, etc. do during Christmas.

    And everyone knows that normal people don’t buy cars for others — but I think the Lexus branding does win the advertising wars with the stupid bow. Also a bow like that shown on the car will cost a dealer anywhere from 500-1500 bucks.

    There is a huge benefit though of keeping that campaign year after year…lower creative bills!


    • markkolier says:


      I understand and agree that there is a need for holiday spots. But given the circumstances of the present maybe Lexus could have put in Santa’s bag for a year or two?

      Lower creative bills might be the best benefit!


  3. jenniecremayle says:

    wow, Chris, what a whiner you are. Why is it wrong to show people giving an expensive gift? If they can afford it, go for it. I can’t, but more power to those who can. So much wealthy-bashing, so little time.

    If you must, look at all the people that are employed building the things.


  4. jenniecremayle says:

    sorry, I meant to call Mark a whiner, I got Chris’ name mixed up because I read his comment just before typing. Many apologies to Chris.


  5. David Parsons says:

    If I ever meet these pretentious a-holes I’m gonna punch them in the face. “Look, family, I bought a gift for ME and F you!”


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