Sunday, November 10, 2019
A December to Remember
Ever wondered about the red bows in the annual "December to Remember" Lexus campaign. (If you awoke to find a brand spanking new Lexus in your snowy driveway with a red bow atop - move along. You are not the audience here!)
The campaign dates back to 1998. The bows are made for Lexus by the King Size Bow Company and run about $49.99 each. The company says that they sold about 5,000 bows their first year. That number has ballooned to 25,000 a year now.
But sometimes the tail wags the dog. Often folks will wait until the holidays to by a loved one a car. More bang for buck. After all the reaction to a "Gee Honey, which color do you want?" is not quite as effective as all the neighbors knowing you got a Lexus for Christmas - many before you did. Nothing quite says I love you like a giant red ribbon atop a brand new luxury automobile. Talk about conspicuous consumption. The envy of the neighborhood brings an incalculable value. (In the immortal words of Dana Carvey's Church Lady - "Well, isn't that special".)
The campaign has become so successful that dealerships find themselves delivering cars with bows atop to driveways across the country on Christmas Eve. Most dealerships are good sports, after all a sale is a sale. They are willing to go the extra mile (no pun intended) to make a customer's December one to Remember.
Dealerships have stories of loyal employees who pride themselves on meeting a customer's wishes. Precise instructions are followed as to when should it delivered and exactly where should it be parked for maximum effect.
This year the campaign has focused on the excitement of the giver as well as the receiver. Face it, this is a pretty serious gift and the presentation only makes it better. After all, a shiny new Lexus in one's yard could be that of one's in-laws visiting for the holidays. But a shiny new Lexus with a giant bow on top seals the deal, 'No, that doesn't belong to Bob's parents. He must have gotten Mildred that LS 600h L she has been asking for.' Given that cost Bob the north side of $200,000 (for that particular model), personally, if I were Bob, I would want more than a big red bow. For that money, Santa should include an elf.
The idea is that the bow is returned after the holidays. That doesn't always happen. The dealers usually point out at the time of the sale, 'Don't worry, you bring the bow back after the holidays.' Even if the bow never makes it back to the dealership, at $49.99, it is money well spent. No doubt that cost is built in the sticker price somewhere between the expense for the clear coating and the 'State Side Import Tax', which by the way, no one could ever find reference to on a Google search.
Naturally, Lexus has not cornered the market on the Big Red Bow topped vehicle. But face it, they have made it a staple of their annual year end sales drive. Anyone can purchase a bow and put it on a car. Hell, one can go to carbowstore.org and get the entire car gift wrapped. A bit much in my book.
Personally, I cannot think of any other automobile ad campaign that has become one of the first signs of the holiday season. That along with Christmas Music on the radio and Christmas movies on TV, officially brings in the Holiday Season.
And Santa, just for the record, an UX 250h in Nebula Grey Pearl would do nicely, if you were wondering.