“We were amazed at the engagement that we saw on the TikTok platform,” Shahani said. “We developed that campaign specifically for TikTok and it was a pretty powerful pilot, or lesson, for us and it’s given us more confidence to go after more specific TikTok executions.”
The search for younger buyers has also led Lexus to put more money in esports, and less in golf, a sport that had traditionally lured dollars from luxury auto brands. “We’ve historically been really, really strong in golf, but we are starting to pull away a little bit,” Shanani said.
The brand’s esports plays have included building a car especially for gamers — a modified version of the IS 350 F Sport sedan that debuted in February dressed up with a gamer-friendly design and features, including a custom-built gaming PC in the trunk. The brand only built one, but it drew enough attention that it “gave us confidence to go out and do more in the gaming space,” Shahani said.
In July, Lexus inked a deal to sponsor Los Angeles-based esports organization 100 Thieves in a pact that included renaming the group’s content creation house to the Lexus Content House.
As the year comes to a close, Lexus must adapt its marketing to account for the vehicle shortage plaguing the auto industry caused by tight microchip supplies. The situation could lead Lexus to curtail its traditional “December to Remember” sales event, as Automotive News recently reported.
Shahani, on the podcast, acknowledged that Lexus might have to alter its ad messaging during the shortage, but “generally speaking we haven’t let our foot off the gas.”
“At most 2% of the people we talk to are in-market [to buy a car] at any given time … so the majority of our advertising frankly is planting a seed for the future and telling the story of our brand and why you should consider our brand.”