When design gets sci-fi

The 'L-Finesse protocol' brings to life a world where car seats recognize their owners as they approach and hurry to adjust their position accordingly. (Knight Rider anyone?)

The ‘L-Finesse protocol’ brings to life a world where car seats recognize their owners as they approach and hurry to adjust their position accordingly. (Knight Rider anyone?)

No, it’s not a new Robert Ludlum novel, L-Finesse is Lexus Canada’s new physical design philosophy.

David Brimson, Toronto-based national manager of PR and advertising at parent company Toyota Canada, explains that when Lexus first came to North America 16-odd years ago, it went after what are now middle-aged boomers, a group that has become fiercely loyal. But now, he says, ‘growth of the premium market is in younger boomers and Gen Xers. We needed to effectively make the brand more appealing period.’

Enter L-Finesse, first used on the GS series introduced last February, and more recently on the launch of the IS brand.

‘The principle behind Lexus is that the customer is at the centre of our thinking, because we recognize our competitor brands have extremely strong positions.’

Thus, along with ‘Seat Anticipation,’ the vehicles have been equipped with other sci-fi features, including a special exterior lighting system that not only helps drivers find their way, but also passengers if the car senses them draw near.

The new sleek-and-sporty IS series, which was unveiled at an exclusive pre-launch party starring R&B artist Jacksoul on Sept. 21, also comes equipped with MP3 capabilities and Bluetooth wireless connective technology. (Other similar events are being planned in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver, where 65% of the target resides.)

To get the message out about both Lexus in general and the IS in particular, the automaker turned to Toronto-based Dentsu Canada. A campaign called ‘Moments’ first hit airwaves at the end of last month and talks up life’s meaningful occasions and how the brand helps consumers pursue them. The second phase, for the IS launch itself, demonstrates the traits of the vehicle specifically.

‘The strategy is to project much more emotional value of what it’s like to own a Lexus,’ says Brimson, adding: ‘We couldn’t do it with an older design style. It’s all based on how Lexus is changing, how it’s becoming a much more emotionally designed brand, with product functionality based on customer experience.’