Lexus Taps Siegelgale for Branding Project

LOS ANGELES — Lexus said it has selected the New York based agency Siegelgale for a 12-18 month branding project following a review.

The shop will handle the assignment using both its Los Angeles and New York offices. According to Lexus vice president of marketing Mike Wells, Siegelgale’s work will primarily center around the first two phases of a five-phase project.

The first will involve gathering information from consumers, investors and executive staff about the perception of Lexus. The second phase will determine “where to take the brand for the next ten years.”

Wells described this as the company’s “biggest undertaking” since launching Lexus in 1989. He declined to discuss budget but said Lexus would put forth “whatever resources we need to execute the plan.”

The Torrance, Calif., carmaker sent RFPs to 14 companies around the world (Adweek, July 9, 2001). It determined Siegelgale was “the company that best fit our needs and culture,” Wells said.

Wells declined to name the other shops under consideration; sources have said agencies eliminated earlier in the process included the duo of TMI in Las Vegas and The Zimmerman Agency in Tallahassee, Fla., as well as the joint team of Pentagram and Prophet in San Francisco (Adweek, Sept. 10, 2001). Team One in El Segundo, Calif., remains Lexus’ ad agency, and will have an “active role” in brand development, Wells said. Once the first two phases are complete, Lexus will focus on internal and external communications, as well as an effort to determine the impact of the brand. The final phase is “sustainment” of the overall initiative.

Siegelgale representatives could not immediately be reached.

Lexus spent roughly $180 million on ads last year, per Competitive Media Reporting, and about half that amount for the first seven months of this year.