Lexus Goes Mobile With ‘Draw Something’

Auto brand looks to Zynga game to tap young audience

Lexus hopes to draw a young adult audience by running its biggest mobile game ad integration today through Friday. Augmenting a larger campaign for the 2013 Lexus ES that began on Sept. 5, the automotive brand will appear via banner, interstitial and video ads on the Zynga-owned mobile game Draw Something, which has been downloaded 50 million times and entails legions of daily users.

"It allows us to really engage this game’s huge fan base," Teri Hill, media manager at Lexus, told Adweek. "It's a really good way for us to do something that’s more youthful. It goes in line with who we are trying to reach—hyper-connected, digital enthusiasts who are influencers."

Indeed, Lexus is taking aim at consumers under 45 years old with the Draw Something effort, which MediaBrix, a social/mobile gaming advertising vendor, and ad agency Team One helped put together.

For the uninitiated, the game is built on collaboration between two players—one draws a picture of a chosen word and the other guesses the word correctly before moving onto their turn to display their virtual drawing skills. Players receive rewards such as in-game coins and color shades when they guess a word correctly.

In terms of Lexus’ marketing purposes, it is the first automotive advertiser to employ brand-specific color schemes in Draw Something. Players will also be awarded in-game coins if they virtually draw Lexus-oriented items. And many of the drawings created on the mobile app will be uploaded onto the Draw Something Facebook page, where users will have a chance at being featured as the "Lexus Stunning Doodle of the Day." The "Stunning Doodle" theme appears in the mobile ads that will be served up to Draw Something users on iPhones, iPads and Android devices during the next several days.

Rosabel Chung, media supervisor at Team One, explained the short duration of the initiative. "We didn’t want it to be a long-tail approach," she said. "We wanted to ensure we’re hitting in a very high-impact way."

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