Lexus Isn’t in This Year’s Super Bowl, but the Brand Released a Football Ad Anyway

4-minute spot spoofs 'roughing the passer' rule

Quarterback Matt Leinart tries out some new Lexus "technology." Lexus
Headshot of Doug Zanger

Lexus is sitting out the Super Bowl this year but, ahead of the game, the brand is launching a four-minute football-themed ad touting some “new” safety features and technology for quarterbacks.

Taking a stab at some levity in a quasi-mockumentary style, the Toyota-owned brand and its agency, Team One, are “launching” technology to keep quarterbacks safer. Calling the “Quarterback Safety System+” (QBSS+) an “antidote” to the new, controversial “roughing the passer” rule, they connect some of the safety features of the Lexus UX compact crossover to illustrate how to keep quarterbacks safe.

Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Matt Leinart demonstrates some of the faux features including a blindside monitor, a 360 pocket protection camera and scramble map.

The two funnier bits of this “technology,” is “boo dampening”—a feature that blocks fan criticism and turns it into positive reinforcement (something Leinart could have used in his tenure with the Arizona Cardinals)—and the “QB Cocoon,” essentially airbags that inflate when the player is about to get hit. But the real hero Lexus tech? It’s the UX QB escort which, takes the player from the huddle to the sideline safely.

The long-form approach is decidedly different from the brand’s ad last year (created by Walton Isaacson) that was connected to the Marvel Studios hit Black Panther and was an extension of the brand’s partnership with the film.

Aside from last year, Lexus has advertised in four Super Bowls—in 2012, 2015 and 2017, the latter of which featured an ad narrated by Minnie Driver. In addition to the film, a 30-second version will run starting with the Pro Bowl—which isn’t quite like the Super Bowl—but it is NFL football.

Lexus’ parent company, Toyota, is planning one ad during the Big Game this year, featuring its popular RAV4 SUV.

For all the latest Super Bowl advertising news—who’s in, who’s out, teasers, full ads and more—check out Adweek’s Super Bowl LIII Ad Tracker. And join us on the evening of Feb. 3 for the best in-game coverage of the Super Bowl commercials anywhere.

@zanger Doug Zanger is a senior editor, agencies at Adweek, focusing on creativity and agencies.
Publish date: January 22, 2019 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT