Lexus Plans Broadband Channel

NEW YORK Lexus is gearing up to launch a broadband video channel targeting imminent and casual car buyers.

The branded offering, due to go live this summer, will carry short-form series about art, architecture, fashion, technology and eco-friendly living—along with more predictable fare such as automotive tips.

Overall, the channel is being designed to create “a parallel with the character of the brand,” according to Lexus national interactive and contextual marketing manager Brian Bolain.

“If you’re not in the market for a car today, we now have another platform to give you the flavor of innovation,” said Bolain. “It’s important to talk to people when they’re not necessarily in the buying mode.”

The foray into content is one of several initiatives by the high-end automaker to reach luxury consumers via culture and entertainment rather than strictly car talk.

Other efforts include a multi-city art exhibit in progress since the fall launch of the LS 460 sedan, and two environmentally minded efforts: Project Greenhouse, now under way at the Sundance Film Festival, as well as a sponsorship of the Sundance Channel’s “Green” programming block set to debut in April.

The online channel arrives as the Toyota-owned brand steps up production of hybrid cars and aims its “luxury eco-vehicle positioning” at early adopters—affluent 30- to 50-something men and women—who can help spread the word that green engineering no longer requires sacrifice, said Bolain. By late June, the company will have three hybrids on the market, including its flagship vehicle, the LS 600h L.

The Web proposition also comes at a time when “consumers are tired of pre-roll and post-roll ads,” said Bolain. “We’d like the brand to be perceived as more innovative.”

Lexus is now drafting a list of digital production partners to help craft content for the channel.