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Lexus Taps Team One Advertising Again

March 30, 1990|BRUCE HOROVITZ | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Lexus is sticking its money where its agency is.

Team One Advertising, the same agency that has helped drive Lexus to impressive sales, sped off Thursday with the estimated $20-million to $30-million annual ad business for the newly formed national Lexus Dealer Assn. The El Segundo-based agency already handles the estimated $60-million-plus national ad business for Lexus.

The new account is among the largest awarded on the West Coast in months.

"Sure, we could have gone somewhere else," said Jim Richardson, chairman of the Eastern Area Lexus Dealers Assn. "But numbers and dollars cause an agency to listen to you. We feel if we use the same agency for both accounts, we'll get even more of their attention."

Several other Japanese car makers recently adopted that same strategy. Last year, Nissan consolidated virtually all of its advertising with Chiat/Day/Mojo. And shortly after that, American Isuzu Motors placed its estimated $32-million regional advertising business with the agency that creates its national ads, Della Femina, McNamee WCRS.

"This will make an even stronger image for Lexus," said Leo Ahern, senior vice president at Team One. "We already know all about the product--and we know the company's objectives."

Although the win was revealed Thursday, Team One has actually been creating Lexus dealer association ads for several months--some of which have been on the air since February. In one new spot, an announcer lists many of the benefits of the Lexus ES 250. Then, as the camera finally shows the car, he adds, "It comes in this handsome carrying case."

Some of the new ads will continue to use the national ad slogan for Lexus, "The relentless pursuit of perfection."

Recent statistics indicate why Lexus is happy to hand more business to its agency. Rival Infiniti sold less than 3,000 cars for the first three months of 1990. But in its first month of sales alone, September 1989, Lexus sold more than 4,500 cars.

Even a widely publicized December recall of Lexus cars--for a minor glitch--failed to slow sales.

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