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Jared Hamilton
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Dara Moore

Dara Moore Digital Channel Manager

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Holiday Advertising - Why all the hate?

Lexus Holiday Ad

Acura Holiday Ad

As an industry we are no stranger to holiday ads this time of year. Manufacturers have been using holidays to increase sales for as long as they’ve been making them. Both of the above ads are for holiday sales. Both are considered higher end vehicle lines. The idea of seeing someone give their loved one a car for Christmas in the commercials is nothing new. But what is new it seems is the reaction these ads are getting online.

Lexus is getting slammed left & right online for their indifference in which they purchase someone a car as a present.  Here are just a few quotes when I searched “Lexus” on

When are they going to air the commercial where the recipient of a car in a giant ribbon says,  “A LEXUS! We can’t afford this, you idiot.”?

If you surprise me with a Lexus be prepared to be dragged behind it.

I guess I’m different. That jingle from the Lexus commercial just makes me want to change the channel not give a car with a giant ribbon.

Related to my tweet about those Lexus ads... "Are you a millionaire? Then you probably don't give out cars as gifts."

Not buying your wife a Lexus for Christmas is the same thing as calling her a fat c**t & punching her in the face.

Feel bad about wishing those Lexus cars with bows explode when started.

I didn’t even have to scroll down the page to find these. They are literally the 1st five posts that show in the search. Don’t believe me? Try it yourself.

Using the same site,, run a search for Acura; what shows? There is only one mention of their commercials:

Gordon Ramsay Stars in New Acura Commercial: Gordon Ramsay stars in Acura's brand new commercial for their holiday ads

You will find nothing negative about the commercials, no negative comments about the brand. What you see are the normal discussions of a car manufacturer.

Why the difference? They are both selling cars, are they not? They are both capitalizing on the holiday season to promote the sales on their vehicles aren’t they? Why then is Lexus is so poorly received when EVERY other car manufacturer out there is doing essentially the same thing?

It’s their marketing approach! Remember it is not what you say, but how you say it. Lexus is showing people giving a $37,000 car as presents, which is simply not something most of the population can relate too! Even those that can afford to buy a luxury vehicle would more than not buy a car for their spouse without talking to them. Think about it? A car purchase is typically your second largest debt a month, unless you pay cash. Which many of us cannot do and now you are looking at a financial commitment for years to come! That isn’t really the type of thing you just buy for someone without them being involved.

But Acura is taking a completely different approach. Their emphasis is on the holiday spirit and of the time of year, acknowledging peoples tendencies to over indulge, and spend too much! But at the same time appealing to their need & instinct right now to find the best deal available there is. Their approach is one that people can relate to that and their approach is one that will get people interested. The commercials reiterate that “over-the-top” holiday approach with people like Gordon Ramsay & Bette Midler. Acura has done what it has set out to do, to successfully, and positively to connect with their customer base and get their attention in “it’s ok to spend, and indulge”. 

So are you marketing correctly to your customers this holiday season?

Dan Kommeth
I appreciate your opinion, Dara, but please keep in mind that Lexus (almost literally) CREATED the idea of buying a car as a gift during the Christmas season, and December is our biggest sales month of the year. I remember when December was a horrible month for car sales (at least in the "snow belt" states) and dealer principals all headed to Florida! And if it was such a bad idea, why are all the other car companies copying it? I see it as flattering that Acura, Buick, Nissan, etc. want to be like us, even if their approach is different! Lastly, contrary to your opinion, people DO buy $37,000 (or more) cars as presents. Happens every year. Stop on by and we'll be happy to show you lots and lots of very happy customers. We don't let those "Grinches" ruin what is a great sales event for those of us in the Lexus business.
Chris Costner
My thought from the negative comments is that they always existed. Now there are ways to express whatever you feel on big company websites, etc. I have spent a few years with BMW and I too watched husbands mainly drive up with trailers the week before Christmas to load up the vehicle purchased as a gift. Now I don't have an opinion either way on whether someone wants to purchase a vehicle as a gift or take it a step further and make it a surprise. The majority doesn't do it but Lexus doesn't market to the majority either. Not bashing your post by no means Dara, I just think some of the negative people have nothing better to do. Great observation also.

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