When you hear the term “automotive marketing,” you probably think of funny Super Bowl commercials, big magazine spreads, and those jazzy internet ads. But those are just some of the many ways that car makers spend money to make money these days, and this week our “Over the Edge” guy Greg Carloss follows that money to some not-so obvious places.
GREG CARLOSS: If you go to a sporting event you’ll hear phrases like “the official car of this” or “the official truck of that.” But if you’re like me, you may be wondering why does a non-motorsport event need an official vehicle? Well, to find out, I’m in California on my way down to America’s biggest golf tournament… in a Lexus. The official partner of the U.S. Open.
Full disclosure. Not only do I love to drive cars, I love to drive golf balls, too.
So, when Lexus invited me to spend a week doing both, I figured it was a good way to get an answer to my automotive marketing questions and potentially for my slice. But before heading to the west coast, I galloped on down to Baltimore for another long-running American sporting icon. Apparently, horses have gotten over being replaced by the automobile because Jeep’s Wagoneer brand served as the official vehicle sponsor of the 148th Preakness Stakes.
JIM MORRISON: You know the main benefit of this event was really being there. You know, one of the best things about this vehicle is the interior and the presence that it has.
You know they can see some of that in an ad, but man to be able to do that firsthand, you know right there when they’re in their glory moments at the Preakness, it was a great connection with our customers.
GREG CARLOSS: As Jeep’s luxury sub brand, they had to go where the people who can afford their SUVs go.
Lexus must also go where the luxury automobile buyer goes, which is why it became the United States Golf Association’s first automotive partner back in 2007.
KELSEY SOULE: The Lexus footprint at the U.S. Open includes a number of different activations and several touch points for our customers and the guests at the U.S. Open to see Lexus at every turn.
GREG CARLOSS: Front and center at L.A. Country Club is the Lexus Electrified Experience. Inside this tent, fans can get a picture with the U.S. Open trophy, try out the interactive putting green and even get their swing analyzed. All while 2 of the latest electrified Lexus vehicles sit prominently on display.
KELSEY SOULE: Throughout the course guests will see Lexus vehicles displayed with, uh, spec sheets that tell them about the vehicles and then also we give Lexus vehicles to all the players and VIP members throughout the week to use at their leisure.
GREG CARLOSS: Of course, Lexus isn’t the only luxury brand lending out hundreds of courtesy vehicles to golfers. Mercedes-Benz partners with The Masters, while BMW and Genesis each have their own eponymous tournaments.
But the luxury buyer expects more from a car than space to carry golf clubs.
KELSEY SOULE: The Luxury automotive buyer has a higher standard when it comes to vehicles in the materials that we use to make them, the intuitive technology that we put in them, the performance and the overall status of the vehicle that they’re buying.
GREG CARLOSS: They also have a higher standard for travel and leisure. Turns out, Lexus is there too.
KELSEY SOULE: So, our luxury hotel partnership program allows us to continue to be in spaces where our customers are staying, where they’re taking vacations, bringing their families. It allows us to give them more exposure to our vehicles through shuttles and complementary vehicles.
We are a partner at Pebble Beach Resorts at the Lodge at Pebble Beach. So, when guests come to golf, they’re gonna put their golf bag in the back of an LX or a GX and they’ll have LC 500s out front so it’s just continued awareness for our customers in these luxury spaces.
GREG CARLOSS: As an honorary guest in these luxury spaces I was able to find the answer to my original question. As for my golf game, I think I need to try some other spaces.