According to a recent Lexus ad, it’s just not hip to listen to classical music while driving, especially Mozart. But it is hip to be rude and leave three passengers stranded on a country road. Doing so will make you appear much younger and cooler, especially if you’re listening to generic electronic pop music while you drive away!
In all seriousness, I’m quite mystified as to the intended audience for this spot, as was Jonathan Palevsky when I showed it to him yesterday. Is Lexus hoping to appeal to young car buyers? Given that the model in this video, the 2015 NX, has a base price of $34,480, we wish them luck. Not many younger consumers have that kind of money to spend on a car these days. My suspicion is that Lexus is trying to convince its core customer base – which, based on my observation of those who drive their vehicles, is people, er, my age and up – that their cars are cool, not stuffy. Problem is, that’s also the demographic most likely to support classical music by going to concerts, buying recordings, and, oh, yes, being members of certain public radio stations.
As offensive as this ad is, it’s also laughable on some levels. First, the Mozart sounds, as Norman Lebrecht of Slipped Disc said, “doctored and slightly speeded up to make it sound glassy and repulsive.” The actor in the driver’s seat isn’t young, and not particularly hip-looking, either. He’s also got a pretty mean-spirited gleam in his eye as he kicks the string trio out of his car. Finally, the pop music that comes out of the Lexus’ sound system in place of the Mozart is so generic that it wouldn’t be at all out of place in an elevator or as telephone “hold” music. The message I took away from it was “drive this vehicle and you, too, can be a middle-aged person with terrible manners, pedestrian fashion sense, and appalling taste in music.” Not exactly the sort of thing that’s going to send me running out to buy a car, or anything else, for that matter.
Tags:car, classical music, Lexus, Mozart, Norman Lebrecht, pop music, Slipped Disc, stodgy, string trio