How To Build a Brand: 2011 Lexus IS, Music To My Ears

September 7, 2010
I came across an ad for the 2011 Lexus IS and was intrigued. Not so much about what the ad is, which we will cover momentarily, but more about what the ad means to the brand and how it builds the brand. I’d say the from the lowly Lexus IS all the way up to the spine-tingling LFA supercar, music, in one form or another, is what defines the Lexus brand (and not the tired Pursuit of Perfection -- give it a rest, Lexus).

Which is a huge change for a brand built on filtering out sound and emotion. It was built on quiet, peaceful harmony and once legendary reliability. It was about separation from anxiety, clear and detached (from the road) at any cost. But not anymore.

Everyone knows music is hard-wired into all of us, even deaf people, just look at Beethoven. Or read This Is Your Brain On Music by Daniel Levitin. From the time the first caveman tapped out a beat on a cave wall and started the first underground night club to the finest Madame Butterfly opera, all the way to today’s vast array of crappy rap and hip-hop music made by talentless hacks like Lil Wayne and Eminem, music is everywhere and defines who we are.

And music as we know comes in all forms. A high-revving internal combustion engine of Italian extraction tends to be some of the finest music out there. Porsche’s 911 boxer 6 engine is a Wagnerian symphony fueled by refined and liquefied dead fossils. The Lexus LFA’s V10 at full song is enough to make any car enthusiast need a change of undergarments due to the sonic rapture it emits. (Check out the ad.) This last one about the Lexus really got me thinking.

Lexus LFA


Lexus started as a brand that emphasized filtering out the harshness of life, including noise from the road, the engine, anything they deemed was uncouth for the ears. They found a great following, but they realized, people like their automotive music in many forms and rolling isolation chambers are a bit sterile after a while. So it seems Lexus changed tracks and has begun to emphasize sound, music, harmonic frequencies as the soundtrack of the Lexus brand.

Lexus Precision Music



The ads may say The Pursuit of Perfection, but I think it’s the pursuit of music as the emotional driver that binds them together. Maybe Lexus is on to something here.

Lexus LS Opera


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