Pitch-perfect Lexus Hybrid Ad Claims Plug-in Cars Hold You Back

A new video from Lexus seems to take a shot at plug-in cars, claiming the technology “can actually hold you back”, and running a photo of an EV parking spot with the words “Reserved for Someone With Four Hours to Kill”. It’s a ridiculously conceived, ignorant ad that plays to the lowest common denominator-types who don’t fully “get” electric cars while it downplays the literal billions of dollars that Lexus’ parent company, Toyota, has spent developing EVs, PHEVs, and hybrids. That’s the narrative coming out of most green-car circles, anyway … but, what if this is actually a terrific, dead-nuts accurate ad that will drive traffic away from Lexus’ prime competitors into a Lexus hybrid?

We have to ask that “What if?” question, of course, because it’s not a hypothetical question at all. This is an ad, after all, that upsets the green heads. This is an ad, after all, that plays up to America’s ignorance in re: electric and plug-in cars. This is an ad, after all, targeted at older people who don’t really trust electronics- be they in their cars or in their computers.

This is an ad, after all, that hopes to sell Lexus’ hybrid cars to Cadillac ELR buyers.

That’s right, gang. Lexus, as ever, is gunning for that aging baby-boomer market that Cadillac went after with its “Poolside” ad, which featured exactly the type of 55+ d-bag ‘MURICAN who wouldn’t dream of buying a Prius or Tesla or Volt getting into an ELR. The thing is, that Poolside really did seem to speak to the generation that thought “Yuppie” was a positive term (exact quote from my dad: “Who wouldn’t want to be young and upwardly-mobile?”), but it wasn’t enough. Not enough in the sense that the Cadillac ad didn’t convince the silver foxes who are out trolling for Golden Girls to actually buy a plug-in car … but it was enough to get them thinking about plug ins.

Enter: Lexus.

Lexus, who is reminding them that they don’t need to spend a laughable $76,000 on a cramped, 2 door electric Cadillac when they can spend that money on a Lexus hybrid. You know, something like the 338 HP, 2014 Lexus GS 450h, which has plenty of room, won’t stand out too much (baby-boomers hate that), has 4 doors, and has that all-important Lexus badge on its masculinely-styled snout. The Cadillac? Old people drive Cadillacs, and- as they approach retirement- the one thing baby-boomers don’t want to feel is old.

Expect Lexus to sell a metric s***ton of hybrids off the back of this ad- and expect a full review of the 2014 Lexus GS 450h hybrid in the coming weeks, since a black-on-black GS just happened to find its way into my garage a few days ago (in related news: I’m selling my motorcycle– I need the room). Stay tuned!


Lexus Hybrid Ads Target Plug-in Cars

Source | Images: Lexus, via Green Car Reports.

Jo Borrás

I've been in the auto industry 1997, and write for a number of blogs in the IM network. You can also find me on Twitter, at my Volvo fansite, out on two wheels, or chasing my kids around Oak Park, IL.