The new ad focused primarily on the Lexus RX450h, currently the only hybrid SUV available in South Africa. The objective was to showcase its design features while demonstrating its hybrid technology in a manner that would conceptually appeal to the target market of somewhat wealthier than average males and females around 40 years of age.
To achieve this, Draftfcb Johannesburg's creative team of executive creative director, Grant Jacobsen, creative director (art direction) Leon Moodley, and creative director (copywriting) Erin Brooks linked one of South Africa's most spectacular displays of natural beauty - the Namaqualand flowers - with the Lexus RX450h, thereby highlighting its elegant design and its environmentally friendly hybrid qualities.
The new RX450h has class-leading CO2 emissions of only 148g/km - the kind of level normal 1600 sedans would deliver - yet it is capable of sprinting to 100km/h in 7,8 seconds. The only commercially available petrol-electric hybrid SUV in the world, the RX450h combines a 3,5-litre V6 petrol engine with two electric motors to deliver a total system output of 220kW.
The hybrid Lexus offers the best of all worlds in one vehicle: it delivers the torque and fuel economy benefits of rival turbo diesels with the performance and refinement characteristics of competitor V8 SUVs. And in true Lexus style, it comes equipped with a host of luxury features normally found on the expensive options list, as standard.
Lexus also offers a conventional petrol powered RX350 model with a refined 3,5-litre V6 engine mated to a six-speed automatic transmission with part time all-wheel drive that can also be locked for off-road use.
Getting the star of the ad into production took a lot of hard work from photographer Clive Stewart and Velocity director, Adrian de sa Garces, in order to translate its vision into the television commercial as well as print and outdoor elements. It was not an easy task as the perfect bloom of the Namaqualand flowers is notoriously difficult to predict.
Said Lexus general manager, Kevin Flynn: “We loved the concept but realised that to meet our flighting and production target dates, we just couldn't rely on Mother Nature to provide us with the shots we needed, when we needed them.
“So, at our request, the agency turned to BUF in Paris to ‘help out' Mother Nature, if you will, with her television performance, and to local effects studio, DXF, to assist with the print and outdoor. Over a five-day TV and photographic shoot just outside Touws River as well as in the Karoo National Park, the crews captured sufficient background on which BUF and DXF could work their magic.
“The breathtaking scenery and close-up shots produced by them resulted in a truly astounding execution for the launch of the new generation Lexus RX. A beautiful and evocative campaign, it truly communicates all Lexus RX450h's propositions,” he said.
The only live action shot was the Lexus RX450h driving up and down wintery roads - all flowers were added later.
Added Jacobsen: “As Namaqualand's annual flower display is the breathtaking end-product of multiple systems working together, so the new generation Lexus RX450h is the clever result of petrol and electric systems in harmony.
“So, the Namaqualand analogy suggested by the commercial is an intrinsic expression of complex systems working in perfect unity while, as an expression of eco-consciousness, it shows the Lexus RX450h as a non-disruptive part of nature's cycle.
“The tone and feel is undoubtedly in line with the Lexus brand. This territory is fresh, memorable and engaging on an emotional as well as an intellectual level, and this kind of road trip is highly aspirational, appealing to the target market.
“The commercial talks strongly to PerformanceHybrid technology and the ethos of performance with conscience, allowing Lexus to own this space indefinitely, long after this commercial has run its media cycle.”
It took six weeks for the campaign to be completed and it will flight between August and October this year. The background score was composed and produced by Audio Militia's Paul Norwood and Craig Hawkins. Click here to view the ad.