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Special Project

Special Project
From the 6th Annual Shorty Awards

"The Signal" Lexus Tumblr

Winner in Tumblr Campaign

Finalist in Tumblr of the Year


On the surface, "The Signal" is a striking fashion Tumblr featuring high-quality, edgy, stylized images and GIF’s appropriately labeled with tags like #fashion, #blackandwhite, #style and #couture. Tumblr is a platform geared towards discovery, and exploring deeper into content descriptions and the "About" section of “The Signal" reveals an unexpected surprise. This provocative style is actually brought to you by the 2014 Lexus IS. For a company that had been seen as sedate and predictable, “The Signal" revealed Lexus to a new audience as a progressive brand acting more like an edgy fashion company than a traditional automaker.For our priority target, Gen X and Y—essentially people under 46—Lexus was increasingly losing relevance. Unlike more rationally minded Boomers, who simply wanted a luxury car that wasn’t always in the shop, our target sought out style and design. In the face of more compelling models from BMW, Mercedes, and Audi, declining appeal and lackluster sales suggested the Lexus IS and the Lexus brand no longer stood out. But the 2014 Lexus IS was different. With its aggressive grille, sharp angles, and sporty lines, Lexus had made the conscious choice to design a vehicle that was deeply polarizing. And, many rejected it on the spot. However, those who sought to stand out, to make a statement, immediately gravitated to the 2014 Lexus IS, seeing it as an invitation to shake things up and boldly disrupt the status quo. To make the 2014 Lexus IS advertising as provocative as the car itself, the “It’s Your Move" campaign featured hyper-stylized models, polarizing imagery and intriguingly-styled environments that looked more like fashion shoots than car commercials. In research, we found that our “anti status quo" Gen X/Y target lived and breathed on Tumblr, where they actively curated their feeds, also to stand out. And, we discovered that they were highly open to reblogging and following brands with whom they strongly identified. Nevertheless, our competitors were behaving in largely predictable ways on Tumblr (often repurposing product images from other social channels). So Lexus chose to go the opposite direction, with feed bait crafted to fit perfectly into top 10 Tumblr tag categories, including "Fashion" and "Black and White". What resulted was “The Signal," a completely authentic fashion Tumblr built from striking behind-the-scenes images and GIF's from the 2014 IS campaign. The discerning fashion community on Tumblr is not easy to impress. By offering high-quality content and keeping the Lexus branding subtle, as part of the discovery process, Lexus was able to gain the respect and reblogs of passionate fashion curators and influencers, providing a surprising new perspective on the brand for a new target audience. Highlights: * “The Signal" achieved engagement rates in line with Tumblr fashion benchmarks, demonstrating acceptance by the target as an authentic fashion Tumblr. * As part of the beta for Tumblr ad products, content from “The Signal" garnered millions of paid impressions. As the targeted audience liked and reblogged, they generated significant additional earned media reach that resulted in 12% of total engagement with the ad content. * Content has generated 85,000+ notes to date, including reblogs from fashion industry influencers like Coco Rocha. * “The Signal" has been successful at reaching the target demographic, with visitors to the blog indexing highest in the 25 – 34 age range, followed by 18 – 24. * The distinctive and surprising approach of Lexus behaving like a fashion brand on Tumblr attracted attention, generating over 4.2 million impressions from press, including recognition by Mashable as one of 15 brands “rocking Tumblr."


Entrant Company / Organization Name

Team One


Entry Credits