El Segundo agency crafts Acura TLX ad campaign targeting tech savvy consumers – Daily Breeze

Posted: Sunday, August 24, 2014

Acura partnered with the New Yorker to produce native-advertising cartoons that appeal to the TLX’s “sophisticated” target audience, Acura’s marketing director Ed Beadle said.

The largest media campaign in Acura’s history kicked into high gear this week as videos produced by an El Segundo ad firm hit millions of TV and computer screens across the country.

The campaign for the new TLX sedan, conceived in the Acura Design Studio in Torrance, is aimed at digitally adept consumers who spend more time tapping their smartphones and tablets than sitting in front of their TV.

With modern consumer habits in mind, the TLX campaign reaches across a diverse range of media, with nearly a third of the overall budget dedicated to digital platforms.

“Digital is a critical component for Acura,” senior marketing manager Ed Beadle said during a press conference. “We have very smart customers. They’re very savvy. They’re very leading edge.”

Acura doesn’t disclose marketing budgets for competitive reasons, but Mike Accavitti, senior vice president and general manager of the Acura division of American Honda Motor Co., said the TLX campaign, which began on social media in January, has already prompted 40,000 people to ask for more information about the car. That’s twice the number of leads generated by Acura’s second-largest media campaign, which ran last year for the Acura MDX sport utility vehicle.

Acura hired Mullen LA in El Segundo to direct four video spots as part of a multipronged campaign that Beadle described as clever, risque and self-aware, characteristics that resonate with young professionals who grew up in the Internet age.

“There’s a great quote that the average attention span of a person today is about 9 seconds — or less than that of a goldfish,” Beadle said. “In terms of developing the creative, we need to capture their attention fast and it has to be made for any device.”

One Mullen LA video features the action-packed story of the TLX’s development. The sedan hydroplanes across wet terrain, tears across dry lake beds and even emerges from a frozen test chamber, all to the raucous beat of the Sex Pistols’ cover of “My Way.”

Another video shifts gears and demographics, showing a TLX arriving in style at a luxurious nightclub with hip-hop artist Ludacris’ “Pimpin’ All Over the World” thumping in the background.

Capitalizing on the target demographic’s love of snark and sketch comedy, one 15-second Mullen spot shows the TLX driving in slow motion toward the camera as a building explodes in the background, a tongue-in-cheek allusion to the “Saturday Night Live” viral video that pokes fun at the Hollywood trope of cool guys who walk away from explosions. After the screen fades to black, the words “Walking away from explosions in slow motion” appear, followed by the tagline, “It’s that kind of thrill.”

Irony and humor are the pillars on which much of the TLX campaign rests. Acura partnered with the New Yorker to create native advertising that incorporates the TLX into the magazine’s iconic cartoons. The company paid Jerry Seinfeld to help produce a series of short ads that will run on the comedian’s digital series, “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.”

In the ads, a fast-talking car salesman spouts life advice instead of talking about the car he is supposed to be selling. The car salesman/life coach signs off “I sell cars. You sell you.”

“These are intelligent, witty people and it’s just a fun language to speak to them in,” Beadle said of Acura’s humor-laden approach to consumers. “You can’t take yourself too seriously.”

When the full-scale campaign launched Monday, Acura paid for ad space on the home pages of Amazon, The New York Times, Wired and ESPN’s college basketball scoreboard “Bracketology.”

A mobile app also was released that uses augmented reality to show how the car’s tire treads work.

When Acura launched an earlier version of the MDX SUV five years ago, the company spent so little on digital advertising that the category didn’t even show up on budget charts, Acura spokeswoman Jessica Fini said in an email.

Today, the “crazy” digital consumer landscape means marketers have a steady stream of data that flows back to them in real time, Beadle said, which means campaign managers have to be more nimble and react quickly to the vicissitudes of online media consumption.

“The media mix is way more nebulous,” Beadle said. “You have to be able to be quick to adapt and have lots of (content), so you can really hit them at any phase of the funnel.”


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