American Marketer


Luxury automakers show depth at LA Auto Show

November 18, 2014

Lexus LA Motor Show promotional content Lexus LA Auto Show promotional content


Luxury automakers are keeping excitement high as the end of the year approaches with a number of concept releases during the Los Angeles Auto Show.

From super sports cars to hybrid technology, luxury brands are giving fans a strong sense of what 2015 will entail. The continual pageant of auto shows can easily siphon a brand's stored-up developments, but many automakers parcel out ideas in ways that satisfy end-of-the-year demands.

"The challenge of [our Lexus LF-C2] campaign is to introduce an innovative way to unveil a car and give audiences the opportunity to participate directly," said Antoine Malin, social manager at Saatchi & Saatchi Fallon Tokyo. "To highlight the beauty of the LF-C2 and how different lighting angles and intensities play off the bodywork, it will be gradually revealed through the intensifying light of a solar eclipse for 72 hours leading up to the world premiere at the LA Auto Show.

"In addition to experiencing the concept car come to life from the shadows, the audience has the power to vote and unlock exclusive close-up looks at the LF-C2 concept’s striking features," he said. "A 'share the moment' button recreates the experience of capturing a unique moment in time, in this case the state of the LF-C2 concept reveal."

Saatchi & Saatchi Fallon Tokyon worked with Lexus on its Los Angeles Auto Show campaign.

Worth the wait

The Los Angeles Motor Show draws close to a million people annually and more than 30 automakers will have exhibition space.

In 2013, brands debuted 56 cars, 23 of which were world debuts.

This year involves 33 global debuts for fans in the area who have watched a year's worth of car releases and product developments at other events around the world.

One of the more ambitious approaches to the Los Angeles Motor Show comes from Lexus. Leading up to the event, the automaker has created an interactive Web page that allows fans to vote on what parts of the LF-C2 concept car will be revealed.

Lexus LF-C2 Concept

LF-C2 Concept interactive page

Starting Nov. 16 at 1:40 p.m., exactly 72 hours before the reveal on Nov. 19, Lexus began sharing changing images each hour, depicting the car in the light of a brightening solar eclipse. Giving consumers a way to actively follow the reveal wherever they are will expand the audience for the event (see story).

Close to 2,000 votes have been cast thus far for the remaining areas of the car.

Audi's new head of design, Mark Lichte, will showcase the aesthetic direction he plans to take the brand in with his first concept model while at the helm.

The automaker is also releasing its Audi R8 Competition model that will be available exclusively to the U.S. public. Just 60 R8 vehicles will be made.

Audi R8 Competition

Audi R8 Competition

The sports car shares the same naturally aspirated V10 FSI engine as the Audi R8 LMS race car, which has won numerous races around the world.

Porsche will be competing against the Competition model with three releases of its own. Two new GTS models, a Carrera and a Cayenne, and the Panamera Turbo S will debut.

Porsche GTS Cayenne

Porsche Cayenne GTS 911

Approximately one in three Porsche vehicles sold in the U.S. are Cayennes.

BMW will be displaying two new SUV models, and Mercedes-Benz is reintroducing its high-luxury brand Maybach to consumers.



Mercedes will also be demonstrating work from its recently updated Beijing facilities, where the team developed a Mercedes G-Code concept.

Jaguar Land Rover, meanwhile, will likely feature a riff on the F-Type line.

Last year the automaker created an immersive digital environment for fans prior to the show.

Jaguar cranked up the anticipation for the new F-Type Coupé model that was unveiled with a series of mysterious social media posts that bolster the brand’s latest umbrella campaign.

The automaker stitched together vines and ordinary posts heavy with shadows and furtive language that merged with the brand’s latest British Villains campaign. By channeling new model releases through the film of its emerging British Villains campaign, the brand had a good chance of impressing this new message on the public’s imagination (see story).

Standing out

Although luxury automakers receive immense traffic at auto shows, there are certain tactics that can meaningfully increase engagement.

The proximity of so many competitors can diminish the impact of a single brand. Consequently, automakers should incorporate unexpected activities or technologies into their display areas to generate new conversations (see story).

"Lexus International has been successful with previous motor show activations in Tokyo for the RC and Beijing for the NX," Mr. Malin said.

"We are confident that this never-before-seen interactive teaser will raise the bar for luxury car reveals online," he said.

Final Take
Joe McCarthy, staff writer on Luxury Daily, New York