Lexus, Roddick Team for U.S. Open Promo

LOS ANGELES In conjunction with a new spot featuring Andy Roddick and its U.S. Open sponsorship, Lexus is hosting a “Virtual Tennis Open” for charity at Rockefeller Center in New York next month, offering the real grand prize of a Lexus IS F one-year lease.

The three-day tournament using the Nintendo Wii platform, which allows human interaction with a computer-generated tennis game, will benefit the Andy Roddick Foundation for neglected, abused and sick children.

“We created this event to bring the excitement of Flushing Meadows [site of the U.S. Open] to Manhattan,” said Steve Jett, Lexus national marketing communications manager. “The Lexus Virtual Open at Rockefeller Center gives them the opportunity to get a taste of it and win a one-year lease on the same vehicle Lexus is awarding to the men’s singles champion.”

In “The Big Backup,” a new spot breaking Saturday, Roddick is seen driving along a New York street when he is enticed by a yellow tennis ball into a high-performance chase, much of it backwards, using the car’s rearview camera and accident-avoidance features, all the way to the U.S. Open court, where the ball comes to rest. There are 30- and 45-second executions, each ending with the familiar tagline, “The relentless pursuit of perfection.”

Phil Joanou, via MJZ in Los Angeles, directed the spots. The spot was developed by Lexus agency Team One in El Segundo, Calif., with group creative directors Gavin Lester and Jon Pearce working under ecd Chris Graves.

The Torrance, Calif.-based division of Toyota spent $300 million on domestic ads in 2006, and $100 million through May 2007, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.