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News 18 May 2022 - 1 min read

Lexus follows Toyota consolidation into Publicis, holdco lifts US bespoke agency model

By Staff writer

Lexus has confirmed it is consolidating creative for brand and retail into Publicis, with the holdco following its US-blueprint for the carmaker and setting up a bespoke agency to handle the business. Meanwhile, Lexus CEO John Pappas said the Toyota-owned carmaker "aims to evolve Lexus into a brand focused on battery-electric vehicles".

What you need to know:

  • Lexus rolls creative into Publicis, holdco lifts US bespoke agency model.
  • Publicis won bulk of $100m Toyota media account last year, already holds creative.

Lexus has confirmed it is consolidating creative for brand and retail into Publicis, with the holdco following its US-blueprint for the carmaker and setting up a bespoke agency to handle the business

Locally M&C Saatchi had held the account since 2014, winning it from 25-year incumbent Saatchi.

Publicis-owned Saatchi handles creative for Lexus sister brand Toyota, with the carmaker last year also consolidating media for both brands into the holdco, taking it from long-standing incumbent The Media Store. While that arrangement did not include retail work – such as ads for dealership – the Lexus deal does, via the new bespoke agency.

According to the carmaker, ‘Team One’ will encompass strategy, creative, social media and CRM.

Both Lexus and Toyota have new senior marketing leadership in place locally, with Vin Naidoo CMO at Toyota and wife Mel Naidoo Senior Manager for Marketing & Strategy at Lexus. The two have significant experience across both brands in Australia and Apac, returning from Singapore in January this year to lead marketing.

Lexus Australia Chief Executive John Pappas said the change comes as the carmaker “aims to evolve Lexus into a brand focused on battery-electric vehicles”.

That would require significant simultaneous investments in electric vehicle infrastructure, with Australia well behind markets such as Europe and California, where most carmakers have been focusing EV sales, though the group is also committed to hybrid engines and hydrogen for markets such as Australia.

Pappas said M&C Saatchi “has been closely involved in elevating Lexus as a leading luxury lifestyle brand, and we sincerely thank them for their service and support.”

Publicis Groupe ANZ CEO Michael Rebelo said Lexus is “one of the world's most progressive and sustainable luxury car brands”, and added that the focus will now be on “finding new ways to engage with consumers through more creative personalised experience”.

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