- Lexus debuted a marketing campaign that puts a hero from the upcoming Marvel movie "Eternals" behind the wheel of a IS 500 performance sedan, per a news release. The Toyota-owned luxury line is the exclusive automotive partner of the film, where two of its vehicles make an appearance.
- At the center of the effort is a 2:30-minute ad titled "Parking Spot" that depicts Kumail Nanjiani's Kingo character as he scrambles to find the right place to park during an intense city battle and gets harangued by his fellow super hero teammates for being late. The short was helmed by franchise regulars Anthony and Joe Russo, who directed the recent "Avengers" installments "Infinity War" and "Endgame," while the blockbuster special effects work was handled by Framestore.
- A 30-second cut of the commercial will air on linear TV, including during college football, NHL and soccer programming. Lexus is supporting the high-profile Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) tie-in with advanced TV, digital and social components, as well as "special events" and dealership-focused activations.
Lexus is angling to capture some of the excitement around the MCU with a campaign starring a hero from "Eternals," which hits theaters in the U.S. on Nov. 5. While the movie itself is directed by recent Oscar-winner Chloé Zhao, the automaker turned to "Avengers" stewards the Russo brothers to lend the content some of the franchise's typical blend of humor and high-budget action.
In the long-form spot, Nanjiani's flustered Kingo encounters a variety of everyday problems, like confusing parking signs, slow-moving pedestrians and people who are double-parked, as he tries to find a place to drop off the latest Lexus sport sedan, all while the city around him is engulfed in a destructive battle of epic scope. The ad features voiceover work by actor Gaius Charles, who is the new voice of Lexus' general market advertising.
Other automakers are trying to deepen their ties to Hollywood franchises as movie theaters reopen and studios funnel more money into promoting new releases and streaming shows. Toyota rival Hyundai has a pact with Marvel Studios owner Disney that has made the super hero brand a major part of its marketing in 2021.
A campaign rolled out last summer starred characters from Disney+ series including "Loki," "The Falcon and The Winter Soldier" and "WandaVision" as part of a larger "Question Everything" platform promoting the 2022 Tucson model. Like Lexus' ad, the Hyundai partnership carefully tries to replicate the look and feel of Marvel properties to create a more seamless narrative with the larger cinematic universe that has kept viewers engaged through its continuity.
In the announcement, Lexus indicated that eagle-eyed fans might spy several Easter eggs related to the MCU in "Parking Spot." The automaker is specifically trying to reach Gen Y consumers in their 30s and 40s with the platform, Lexus Vice President of Marketing Vinay Shahani told Variety.
Lexus has previously dipped its toes into the MCU. Ahead of the release of "Black Panther" in 2017, the marketer created custom car models themed around the film, along with a graphic novel tie-in from Marvel Custom Solutions that integrated the LC 500 vehicle into the story.