Earlier this month I wrote about how out of touch Lexus – or perhaps their ad agency – is with the public. ("Lexus Gets Some Bad Advertising Advice.") They are so enamored with their own jingle, they can't imagine a world in which we won't recognize it, even from just a few notes. ("Lexus, I know the Law & Order 'Bom, Bom,' and you are no 'Bom, Bom.'")
As a result, the ads featuring a rich person playing the forgettable jingle for another rich person to let him or her know that they are about to receive a luxury car, falls flat for me. I heard from more than a few people who agreed – saying the spots actually confused them. Envy, lust, yearning – these are emotions advertisers usually shoot for. Confusion? Not so much.
I'm now thrilled to write about other car manufacturers piling on another ridiculous aspect of the long-running Lexus campaign: the giant bows.
Honda's new spokesperson, Patrick Warburton, brilliantly mocks the luxury car makers with his trademark sardonic arch of an eyebrow. (Of course, Honda also owns Acura – which at one time flirted with the giant car bows, but even they are now trying to tone things down with their "Season of Reason" spots.)
Warburton, who you may know as "David Puddy," "Joe Swanson," or "Kronk," opens the spot by asking, "Are you a millionaire?" Then he walks up on a new Honda festooned with a ridiculous giant bow. "No?" he adds, "Well then you probably don't give people cars as presents," and he drags the bow off the car, letting it fall to the ground disdainfully. Genius.
Brilliant too that at the end of the spot this millionaire actor tells us that he's giving this particular car to his niece – and he starts putting the bow back on the car. I haven't felt so good about being a Have Not in decades.
And now Buick has gotten in on the bow bashing. And let me tell you, as someone with a Buick in his past, if Buick is making fun of you – you're having a bad day.
In this spot, a man presents his girlfriend/wife with a luxury car, complete with The Bow. She turns to thank him, but unfortunately for him, at that moment a Buick drives by, catching her eye. She's hypnotized by the beauty and grace of the Buick – bow draped luxury car be damned.
I feel bad for the guy. It's like taking a date to Ruth's Chris Steak House and then on the way home you pass a Red Lobster and she says, "ooh, I just loooove Red Lobster!" Talk about flushing your money down the toilet.
Anyway, the point is, Lexus and their one percenter clientele are living in a different world. As the world economy crumbles around us, will they stick with their message of joyous inequality? Probably. After all, if we can't rub our success in other people's faces, how can we tell how much better than them we are?