M&C Saatchi takes smart billboards to new level for Lexus

M&C Saatchi’s ground-breaking outdoor extension of the ‘This is the New Lexus’ campaign has launched with Australia’s most sophisticated and interactive smart billboards.

The ‘This is the New Lexus’ brand positioning was unveiled in October with the launch of the NX Crossover model, taking the prestige car marque to a much broader, younger, more progressive luxury audience.

From Monday 19 January, the billboards, specifically engineered by APN Outdoor, began operating at key high traffic sites* in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth.

In an unrivalled execution anywhere in the world, the billboards identify the brand, model and colour of passing vehicles to trigger a personal and playful message to drivers via the digital display, such as “Hey white Audi driver, it’s time to Crossover. This is the New Lexus NX.”

The format also tailors tactical messages based on other variables such as time of day, weather and traffic conditions to generate messages such as: “Hey black Merc driver, the heavens have opened. This is the new Lexus NX.”

The activation features more than 80 different configurations of dynamic messaging in each of the five sites.

Each billboard has a series of cameras on high rotation that capture all passing traffic. The images are sent to the APN Outdoor Classifier, a bespoke, hi-tech device that matches them to its large database of vehicles makes, models and colours in addition to the other variables.

Lexus Australia Corporate Manager – Sales and Operations Adrian Weimers said: “Smart out-of-home aligns perfectly to our new messaging.

Our job doesn’t simply start with telling everyone ‘This is the New Lexus’, it’s also about how we say it.  Using innovative technology such as this activation helps us to further reinforce that there is a change at Lexus.”

M&C Saatchi Executive Creative Director Ben Welsh called the smart billboards “direct messaging on steroids”.

“It’s quite epic to have a 42 square metre billboard having a chat to you as you drive past. It was an ambitious idea that Lexus really went for, brilliantly brought to life by APN Outdoor and TMS.”

The billboards have made quite a splash featuring on Channel Ten and Nine network news bulletins, a number of radio segments and in Fairfax online and print editions, including the SMH Digital Life section.

In June 2014 Lexus appointed M&C Saatchi to a full brand and retail remit following a pitch.

*The smart billboards went live on 19 January at the following premium sites in each mainland state capital:

  • Sydney Domestic Airport, Entry Gantry
  • Melbourne, Kew Junction
  • Brisbane, King George Square
  • Adelaide, 142 Gouger Street
  • Perth Domestic Airport, Entry Gantry.