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Lexus punches hole into high-performance market with Draftfcb TVC

In a moment reminiscent of the iconic movie, The Right Stuff, the Lexus IS-F has ‘punched a hole' into the high-performance sedan market with a dramatic launch television commercial developed by Draftfcb Johannesburg and produced by Velocity Films.
Lexus punches hole into high-performance market with Draftfcb TVC

Shot on the Fisantekraal Airstrip between Stellenbosch and Malmesbury over two nights, the 45-second ad is both a compelling story and a highly-crafted salute to the marque. Not only does it demonstrate the vehicle's impressive high performance, it does so using some of the most ambitious equipment ever used in this country for a shoot.

There's a 200 metre long skrim weighing just under a ton suspended by five 120 ton cranes and anchored by a dozen shipping containers; all the 20K lights agency producer Karen Kloppers could round up and a Phantom Gold H/S HD Camera to name but a few. In fact, the call sheet ran to 24 pages; a record for the agency.

Conceived by Draftfcb Johannesburg's creative team of Grant Jacobsen, Erin Brooks and Leon Moodley, it is based on a an experiment conducted in the 1970s into a theory of special relativity which stated that, at acceleration, time slows down. In other words, a clock at speed should run slower than a clock at rest.

Lexus punches hole into high-performance market with Draftfcb TVC

“The ad opens on a racetrack at night. The viewer ‘feels' bodies and a vehicle in the gloom and mist at the start line, points of light skewing and wavering between patches of thick darkness. A metal flight case is opened to reveal a pair of glowing, hi-tech atomic clocks, both at 00:00:00:00. One is secured to the dashboard of the waiting vehicle, the car-clock,” described executive creative director, Jacobsen.

“The other, the track-clock, remains at the starting line, the vehicle in soft focus just beyond it. The car pulls off slowly for a rolling start on a timed lap. Focus on the car-clock alongside the blue instrumentation of the panel, intercutting with track-clock at start line. This is a listening exercise, as we hear the engine run through its gears, without having seen the car properly yet.

“A thin blue laser cuts the start line and as the vehicle breaks through it; both car-clock and track-clock start timing in perfect synchronisation. We have begun the timed lap. The film slows to a complete halt as we move around the IS-F in its mid-flight, revealing it in all its splendour. Cuts between the clocks intimate discordance. The blue laser is crossed once again and both clocks stop - and the car-clock is a heartbeat slower than the track-clock.

Lexus punches hole into high-performance market with Draftfcb TVC

“Thanks to powerful direction by Adrian De Sa Garces and masterful handling of the Phantom camera by Graham Austin, the result is a dramatic and moody commercial which we think captures the heart and soul of this high-performance beauty,” he said.

Draftfcb Johannesburg's Leon Moodley concurred: “Only a high-performance ad could do justice to the high-performance Lexus IS-F. Shooting, as we did, at 1500 frames a second versus the normal 25 frames a second allowed the team to really get under the skin of the car and show it at its best through dramatic photography.

“It's perfect, a point underlined by the ad's payoff line: We like to think it gives you just a moment more... to encounter the pursuit of perfection.

The 45-second commercial broke on April 15 and is being supported by a shared outdoor campaign with the new Lexus IS250C convertible as well as a print campaign - a gatefold in Car magazine and posters in GQ, Sports Illustrated and Wanted.

“For performance fanatics, the numbers are everything, so the gatefold lists them, while the outdoor campaign puts into pictures and words the reasons why someone would chose a high-performance sedan over a convertible, or visa versa, or ying-yang,” said agency account director, Struan Bourquin.

“For the Lexus IS-F, it's about speed, torque, high energy; for the Lexus IS250C it's about taking it easy, cruising, putting the top down. So we have ‘Molotov' and ‘Cocktail', ‘Quarter Mile' and ‘Promenade', and ‘Van Halen' and ‘Cafe del Mar' juxtaposed on their own billboards in close proximity.

“Contrasting two of your products is an unusual approach but one we believe will work well for the Lexus IS range because it's subtle and sophisticated; like the target market.”

To view either the television commercial or a behind-the-scenes of the shoot, click on IS-F, select ‘video' and then make the choice between the two.

Nahana Communications Group
Nahana Communications Group is a collective of leading specialist agencies that provide solutions across the marketing ecosystem, engaging with clients early, intelligently and collaboratively, to tackle the business problem, not just the creative task.

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