The Lexus of Food Carts

Automotive brands keep a tight grip on their dealers (signage and building designs can only look a certain way), so how did Lexus of Portland get so far out from under the Lexus division at TMS in Torrance.

The Lexus brand guidelines state its essence is the Pursuit of Perfection and its promise is Luxury that helps you make the most of every moment. So when you think of Lexus do food carts come to mind? It does for Lexus of Portland. They’re running a promotion called The Lexus of Portland “Most Excellent Food Cart Challenge.”

I have nothing against food carts, some offer fairly good food at economical prices, but luxury they’re not. But is “fairly good food” and “economical prices” in line with the Pursuit of Perfection or Luxury that helps you make the most of every moment? Quickly served food from a cart may “help you make the most of every moment.” But food carts, Lexus, really? I don’t think so.

So while food carts are so wrong for the Lexus brand, at least the prizes are more in keeping with the brand. The prizes include a $500 American Express gift card; two nights at The Nines in Portland; two nights at the Oxford Hotel in Bend, OR; and two nights at Adrift Hotel and Spa in Long Beach, WA.

But the question remains. How did Lexus of Portland get so off brand?

Full disclosure: I worked on Lexus at Team One Interactive and at AMCI (Automotive Marketing Consultants, Inc.).

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About Robert Moss

I write ads: traditional, non-traditional, interactive, edutainment, story-based, broadcast, and experiential marketing events. Sometimes I write about ads and the business of advertising. Sometimes I write about other stuff. The views expressed here are solely my own and don't reflect the views of my employers. I also published a novel called Descending Memphis that's getting great reviews on Amazon. see http://www.amazon.com/Descending-Memphis-Robert-R-Moss/dp/0692364226
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One Response to The Lexus of Food Carts

  1. Chuck Haas says:

    Nice catch, Rob. As a fellow TMS alumnus, I agree completely. As automotive marketing moves further down the funnel from national branding to dealer associations to individual dealers, strategy and sophistication are often replaced by impulsiveness, trendiness or the baseless intuition of the dealer principal, or worse yet…their spouse!

    I will give them credit for attempting to include lifestyle events in their marketing mix. They may have an understanding that events can have better long-term results with the higher-end prospects compared to exclusively using high-frequency broadcast or, god-forbid, newspaper. Here in Los Angeles, food trucks are all the rage these days. Hopefully, for this dealer, it’s food “carts” in Portland instead? Otherwise, it would appear that not only are they chasing a trend (never a good idea), but it may also be the wrong trend as well?

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