As Lexus takes more media expertise in-house, it wants to work more directly with media owners.
Whereas the advertiser’s agencies would usually broker media deals with publishers, Lexus is now taking the lead setting up the smaller ones. Earlier this year, Lexus launched a branded content series across Vogue, GQ and Condé Nast Traveler after its own internal marketers set up the deal with Condé Nast. The team worked directly with the publisher’s in-house agency dubbed Creative Studio Network, while the media agency acted as support.
“This isn’t about us replacing agencies, but we do need to be in a position where we have the people internally who can hold a conversation with those partners as well as media owners,” said Spiros Fotinos, global head of brand management and marketing at Lexus.
Branded content, rather than media deals, will be the ones Lexus mainly leads on given they don’t always require the buying power of an agency to get over the line.
Lexus’ feature-length “Takumu” documentary on Amazon Prime is another example of how the business is brokering different types of media deals as a result of the internal expertise it now has. The film follows four Japanese artisans who have dedicated their lives to cooking, paper cutting, automotive and carpentry and links their dedication to the skilled people who work on every Lexus vehicle. The&Partnership worked with Lexus’ marketers on creating the film and brokering the distribution deal with Amazon.
“Amazon isn’t just a platform to host my branded content anymore; they’re a content creator, which means we can start to collaborate with them more closely,” said Fotinos. “Media owners are more open to collaborating differently to how they have worked with us previously.”