Lexus crowdsources gamer-ready car design on Twitch

Dive Brief:

  • Lexus enlisted the Twitch community on Jan. 13 to create a customized version of its 2021 IS sedan, designed by and for gamers, according to details emailed to Marketing Dive.
  • Twitch streamer Fuslie hosted a two-hour livestream on the Amazon-owned platform, letting nearly 23,000 viewers use a poll feature to vote on interior and exterior modifications in the vehicle, such as gaming consoles, a 3-D printed controller, monitors, lighting, drinks and car wrap. Lexus will use the poll results to customize a full-size car. Fuslie will host another livestream on Feb. 17 to reveal the completed design.
  • Lexus’s Fuslie tie-up is part of the IS model’s marketing campaign that looks to reach people who are “all in” on pursuing their passions. The “All In” initiative debuted on Jan. 4 and will include additional influencer partnerships, TV spots, social content and a documentary-style travel video, the company announced.

Dive Insight:

Lexus’s interactive Twitch activation is the first time a car brand has enlisted gamers to customize a vehicle through livestream, the company claims. This participatory approach may help the brand reach younger consumers who are typically elusive on traditional ad channels, especially following a banner year for Twitch spurred by people spending more time at home during the pandemic. The platform hit a record of 2.56 million weekly viewers in December, more than double from a year prior, Twitchtracker data found. With the wave of new viewers, marketers are quickly following suit, shifting investments from traditional media to newer channels like streaming and gaming.

Debuting last week, the 2021 IS model’s broader campaign spotlights niche passions — from gaming to sneakers to music — an approach that could resonate with young adults’ desire for authentic content. Rather than casting actors for the new “All In” video spots, Lexus teamed with eight microinfluencers to star in “Names” and “Vanity Plates,” which will air during primetime TV, special events and playoffs for the NFL and NBA.

“The IS customer is our youngest, most fiercely authentic yet,” Lisa Materazzo, vice president of Lexus marketing, said in an announcement. “The marketing campaign, like the new IS, is equally authentic and celebrates those who fully embrace their passions.”

Lexus is no stranger to mobile marketing, with a range of smartphone-centered initiatives launching throughout 2020. In March, the carmaker kicked off a six-part podcast series hosted by author Malcolm Gladwell. Three months later, it released the Lexus AR Play app to give users an immersive preview of the 2021 IS sedan. It then introduced a social media series, “Lexus Creates,” urging people to participate in the creative process that underpins the brand’s emphasis on craftsmanship. Through an origami tutorial with U.K. artist Coco Sato, Lexus aimed to highlight its “pursuit of perfection” brand ethos.

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