Lexus takes musicians for a spin in sedan with built-in record player

Dive Brief:

  • Lexus brought together musicians Madlib and Kaytranada to debut a vinyl double-single in its Lexus IS Wax Edition concept car, which features a fully functional turntable built into the dashboard, per a press release. The 7-inch record will then be released to select members of Vinyl Me, Please, a monthly record subscription club.
  • The record player was created by custom fabrication studio SCPS and is capable of playing vinyl records while the car is in motion, without skipping. The artists’ creative process and the creation of the Lexus IS Wax Edition are documented in a two-part series, “Driven By Sound,” that was created with Pitchfork.
  • While the concept car will not be for sale, it will be on display at future Lexus events. The musical campaign is the Toyota-owned luxury brand’s latest effort to tap into cultural passions to market its 2021 IS sedan.

Dive Insight:

Lexus’ collaboration with Madlib and Kaytranada on a new vinyl record that is being showcased in a musically minded concept car allows the carmaker to tap into underground hip-hop and dance music cultures as it promotes its new IS sedan. In Madlib, one of the most critically acclaimed musicians in hip-hop, and Kaytranada, who this month won two Grammy Awards, Lexus’ effort has the authenticity that consumers demand from campaigns that tap into culture, especially around music.

“Like audiophiles who go ‘all in’ to create the purest listening experiences, we went ‘all in’ to design the new 2021 Lexus IS as the purest expression of a sports sedan,” Vinay Shahani, vice president of Lexus marketing, said in the press release. “The Lexus IS Wax Edition exemplifies the ultimate union of our respective passions, bringing together vinyl and cars in a fresh new way.”

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Along with making the record available to select Vinyl Me, Please members, Lexus teamed with music media brand Pitchfork on a two-part documentary about the artists and the concept car. Condé Nast in 2015 acquired Pitchfork as it looked to bolster its digital offerings, and in 2018, the publisher unveiled CNX, a full-service creative agency and content studio. Content studios allow brands like Lexus to develop native advertising that is more engaging to consumers, especially the younger ones that it is targeting with this effort.

The musical campaign around the Wax Edition continues Lexus’ efforts to market the IS sedan by tapping into cultural passions. Lexus this year has launched activations across gaming and sneakerhead culture to market the new sedan. Like this latest campaign, the latter effort — in which a group of designers participated in a challenge to customize a sneaker based on the car — included a three-part series on a dedicated web page created by entertainment company Complex. Most recently, the company offered consumers a five-day trip focused on relaxation and emotional well-being. The “Retreats in Motion” experience included content created in partnership with lifestyle media brand Mindbodygreen.

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