NEW YORK Opera music? Check. Rich cinematography? Got it. Subtitles in elegant cursive typeface? Ditto. Yup, all the cliches of classic “luxury” car advertising—the ones that would seemingly appeal to the monied set—show up at the beginning of “Etiquette,” the latest Lexus commercial from Team One, breaking tonight during Boston Legal. Then the new Lexus GS bad boy streaks into the picture (a desolate warehouse parking lot at night) and executes such screechy and extreme moves as “The Power Slide” and “The Doughnut” (both introduced in the aforementioned high-falutin’ script). “There are a few things the new Lexus GS can do, maneuvers that are quite frankly below its dignity,” the announcer says carefully, explaining the apparent cognitive dissonance. At this point, the silver car is maniacally going in tight circles while performing the doughnut, tires squealing. (Seen from above, the circular track marks look like abstract art.) “And while other companies may encourage such behavior,” he adds, like a school marm at a strip club, “we believe that just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should.” Point taken, as the car blasts into a parking position, titled “Sweet Spot.” Not only is it a fresh, smart way to demo the moves that the new sports sedan with a more powerful engine is capable of, but it also seems to be a bit self-deprecating about the hoity-toity markers of quiet class and elegance that defined previous Lexus commercials. Altogether, the effect is sophisticated and as badass as you can get in a good-natured way.
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