Late last week, Lexus launched an eye-catching new commercial for the 2011 IS sedan. It's also proven to be fairly ear-catching, and now Lexus has uploaded a YouTube clip to show how the ad was made.
The commercial is called "Music Track", and it features an Ultrasonic Blue Lexus IS drifting through an empty warehouse and throttling down a gauntlet of drums. As the IS powers by them, it triggers the drums, creating a perfectly timed riff and a backbeat for the ad.
In the "making of" feature, the director, the stunt driver, a musician, and a mathematician talk about the equations they ran to determine placement of the drums and the speed at which the IS needed to drive. They also discuss the technology they developed to trigger the drums as the IS passed by.
What's great about this campaign isn't necessarily the car -- which is nice looking, though the blue is maybe a little much. Nor is it the stunt driving, which is pretty basic. It's the unabashed geekiness of the production team, obsessed with timing out the beats and bringing their vision to life. Sure, they could've easily set up some drums, sent the IS barreling along side them, then edited in a pre-recorded drum riff to give the ad the same effect. But that would've sent fanboys screaming, and it definitely wouldn't have given the film crew the same nerdy thrill.
We've embedded both clips below: the :30 commercial is first, and the "making of" clip is just below. At the bottom, we've pasted the Lexus press release, for those who just can't get enough.
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New Lexus IS Doesn’t Miss A Beat
In a new commercial, the 2011 Lexus IS performs a percussion solo as it hugs curves with precision and power
TORRANCE, Calif. (Sept. 7, 2010) /PRNewswire/ — It all begins in a sleek warehouse where 122 percussion instruments are arranged to create a precision-driving course full of angles and straightaways. Each instrument has a tiny lever. An Ultrasonic Blue 2011 Lexus IS sport sedan revs its engine, wheels spinning as it roars to life to debut its musical prowess. The vehicle navigates the raceway, precisely tripping each and every drum lever on the track, creating a beat as it speeds by, igniting the base, snare, toms and cymbals. Through it all, the IS doesn’t knock over a single instrument. As it comes screeching to a halt, the final drum beat is triggered. The new 2011 IS has just laid down its first custom track.
In this latest TV spot from Lexus, which begins airing today, the IS takes on the role of musician to demonstrate that the most exhilarating kind of performance is power wielded with precision.
“We wanted to create a dynamic way to illustrate the IS’s agility on the road,” said Dave Nordstrom, vice president of marketing for Lexus. “Our engineers strive to develop innovative technology that provides the driver with an exhilarating experience. The concept of creating a music track using drums, levers and the IS showcases the car’s precision on the road and offers viewers both an auditory and visual feel for the excitement of getting behind the wheel of an IS.”
Designing the Beat
With the help of a team of music composers, a mathematician and a skilled stunt driver, the IS’s precision performance was put to the test.
First, Lexus worked with a music production company to compose and design the music track. Next came the challenge of translating sheet notes on a page into a physical track for the car to maneuver. “We had to figure out how to lay out a track that would allow the car to really play a beat,” said Nordstrom. To accomplish this, Lexus enlisted a mathematician from a leading university to determine how and where to place the drums based on calculations of the car’s speed, the beat of the music and the space allocation on the course.
The third step was to work with a production designer to create a system of levers that would set off the drums when the wheels of the vehicle rolled over them. This task required a precise vehicle and skilled driver to ensure a beat that was accurate within fractions of a second.
Finally, Lexus selected a professional stunt driver, Eddie Braun, to meet the challenge of wielding the IS on the course so precisely that it would hit its mark, every time. Braun utilized the vehicle’s performance technology to meet the demands of the course while relying not only on the speedometer to measure speed, but by simultaneously listening for the tempo.
The result of the IS’s precision? Music to anyone’s ears. “The first time it all came together on rehearsal day, the crew burst into applause,” added Nordstrom.
The spot, titled “Music Track,” is part of the “Wield Precision” campaign for the 2011 Lexus IS. It can be viewed at YouTube.com/lexusvehicles and during NFL Network’s pre-kickoff show, as well as on full episode players online. The campaign will also be featured in an outdoor, print, mobile and online banner campaign, as well as partnerships with Pandora, CNET and in Esquire magazine’s October issue and Yahoo! Sportacular iPad applications.