Spotted! Lexus drives Distillery takeover

Toronto's Distillery District is stage to the global debut of the Lexus CT 200h, complete with indie rock soundtrack.

On a mission to get a coffee yesterday afternoon, MiC braved the Toronto heat wave and headed over to the Distillery District for some Balzac’s brew and a snack. What we found, however, was not just the usual mass of tourists enjoying the historic district’s boutiques, but the ‘world debut’ of the Lexus CT 200h hybrid hatchback.

The luxury car co had taken over the main square for the promotional event, Lexus Live at the Distillery. On one end of the square stood a branded stage featuring a slate of Canadian indie bands and on the other, branded Lexus kiosks and interactive centres.

MiC caught up with Octavio M. DaCosta, national manager, Lexus Canada, at the event, who explained that this was not merely a promotion for a new car, it was in fact the global promotional launch for the hybrid hatchback, which goes on sale spring 2011.

The goal behind the event, created with Lexus AOR Dentsu, was to debut the CT 200h with a splash and expose it to its main target demo of affluent urban professionals, DaCosta said.

‘We thought that the music element would be a draw for the right audience, which is the affluent professional, 30 to 40 crowd,’ DaCosta explained.

‘That’s why we picked the music we did, and we were bang-on. The location also lends itself to that customer base, with its condominiums and being in the downtown core.’

DaCosta said that by late Sunday afternoon, they had exceeded their expectations by reaching approximately 1,500 ‘hand raisers,’ an industry term for people who expressed interest in purchasing the car.

‘That’s excellent,’ he said. ‘We hadn’t expected that much.’

The last band to play, PEI’s Paper Lions, even got in on the promotional action, thanking Lexus for putting on the event with just the right amount of irony. Bantering, jokingly, about the CT 200h while an equipment malfunction was worked on, one of the band members contributed his own endorsement: ‘It has a CD player!’