Do people really buy luxury cars as holiday gifts?

Just like the rest of you, the Scofield crew has been inundated with the latest versions of holiday ads showing people buying their loved ones luxury cars as a holiday gift. The Lexus in the driveway with a big red bow has become pretty ubiquitous during the holiday season. But this year it started a discussion amongst a few of us about the effectiveness of the ads. Do people really buy luxury cars as holiday gifts? Or do the brands and agencies involved think the ads work in a more subtle way to increase sales.

Based on a suggestion by Ross Woods, I decided to look into it.

It turns out, the spots really work. Lexus started their “December to Remember” campaign in 1998, and it's still going strong. I find that shocking. There are not many ad campaigns that have ever run that long with a consistent concept. The result of that consistency is a visual that can be used in television, digital, or print that is universally recognizable. At this point, that giant red bow is almost expected during the holidays. In fact, holiday sales events have become a huge part of nearly every carmaker’s marketing strategy.

And it isn’t just that the advertising gets people to buy more cars. They are actually buying them as gifts. In an article from AdAge, Brian Smith, the VP of marketing for Lexus explains, “Sometimes it is a surprise for a spouse, but a lot of times the family is going to purchase a new car and make a surprise around Christmas.”

And often, the customers go so far as to want that big red bow. Smith continues to say, “Many, many dealers have to actually schedule the use of their big red bow. It used to be that every dealer had one … and now many of the dealers have purchased two, three, four bows.”

So, as silly as the premise may seem to many of us, myself included, it’s pretty impressive that a creative campaign that started 20 years ago can still have an effect on sales, not to mention popular culture.

And, just for fun, you should check out this older SNL clip.

Jason CooperComment