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Genie May Help SUV's Dreams Come True

July 30, 1998|DENISE GELLENE

Advertiser: Toyota Motor Sales USA

Agency: Team One Advertising, El Segundo

Challenge: Persuade consumers that Lexus' new luxury sport-utility vehicle is as comfortable as a luxury car.

The Ads: In this TV spot, a grizzled archeologist exploring a rocky, desolate landscape discovers the object of his search: an ancient, narrow-necked bottle. Grasping his find, he sets off in his boxy, dirt-covered SUV as the bottle jostles about on the passenger seat next to him. Roused from her long slumber, the genie inside the bottle (Barbara Eden of "I Dream of Jeannie") nods her head and transforms the grubby SUV into a sleek, smooth-riding Lexus RX 300. Pleased with the result of her handiwork, Jeannie decides to have some fun. Nodding her head once again, she transforms the archeologist into an attractive young hunk. A narrator announces: "Introducing the first SUV that doesn't ride like a truck."

Comment: This ad playfully pushes hot buttons (sex, nostalgia) while fancifully demonstrating the benefits of Lexus' new SUV. This dealer spot also helps lighten up Lexus' image--its ads tend to be sophisticated and clever, but not fun. Though Lexus has another SUV, the LX 470, executives at Toyota's luxury division aren't nervous about implicitly bashing it. The bulkier LX 470, which costs about $54,000, competes with the truck-like Range Rover. The RX 300, which starts at $31,550, competes more closely with the popular Mercedes M-Class, which also touts car-like luxury packaged in an SUV. $$$

*

Ads are rated from $ to $$$$, based on tastefulness and probable effectiveness, with $$$$ being highest.

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