Marty’s Marketing Minutia

New voices, underwater fender-benders, and one very dopey press release

by on Feb.27, 2009

The weekly compendium of arcane, interesting, weird or just odd items from the weird and often silly world of automotive marketing, advertising, promotion and publicity.

New Lexus voice-over

New Lexus RX350 Crossover, new ad voiceover.

New Lexus RX350 crossover, new ad voice-over.

For as long as I can recall Lexus television commercials had a very distinctive voice as their VO or voice-over – the voice you hear but never see in commercials – well, he was in one this summer. You listened to the mellifluous, resonant, confident voice of actor James Sloyan.

But as I watched the new RX commercials this week preparing for an article next week, noted a new voice-over for Lexus. Hmmm? Was this a change of talent or just a scratch track mistake. I recognize voiceovers based on producing literally hundreds of radio and TV voiceovers in my ad career.

So I asked Lexus’ marketing manager, Deborah Singer, in a phone interview, about the change. “Yes,” she responded, “We are using a new voice for all our commercials,” and went on to introduce the new VO, James Remar, and explain why in well phrased agency-speak he was selected.

For an actor, that’s a tough gig to lose in good times, much less tough times. AFTRA and SAG scale (the talent unions) payments for his vocal talents were, I must assume, for at least double scale or he was retained on an annual fee car basis, Either can be very rewarding.

Sloyan’s voice has been in Lexus commercials since 1989, half of the brand’s time in the U.S. To me his voice was the Lexus audio logo. It will take a while for me to get use to the new VO of James Remar. But all good gigs must end. The new spots are on the air now, listen closely for the change. And, of course, your comments are welcome.

Smart cars get parking discounts

Half off (parking) for the fortwo.

Half off (parking) for the fortwo.

People who drive a Smart for-two car in New York City are being offered 50% discounts at three major parking firms with hundreds of locations in the New York City area: Meyers Parking, Icon Parking Systems and AviStar Airport Parking. With rates often reaching $50 and above per day in midtown, that’s a deal, and we all know how hard it is to get deals in NYC. Good mileage, 50% parking rates … that’s a deal.

Best car commercial that’s not a commercial

ATT has an interesting commercial about two car guys who look a pix of an old muscle on their smart phone, the ATT Fuze phone. They buy the car and spend the next :20-seconds or so buying parts for the restoration – on the phone of course – and restoring the car. Last five seconds is the sell for the phone. Good use of a car in a TV commercial. Bad cell phone ad. to decide for yourself.


From those thoughtful folks at Nissan’s advertising agency, TBWA Chait-Day LA, comes this eye candy video shot in Las Vegas of three Sports Illustrated swim suit cover models being driven around the strip in the new 370Z at high speeds doing all sorts of things stunt drivers can do all with tires smoking, screeching and skidding while the damsels were screaming.

Nissan hosted many auto drivers in Vegas at the Trump for the introduction of the new car. We drove their car, ate the food, hoisted adult beverages, but missed meeting the models or the video being shot. to see what everyone missed.

Underwater fender bender

Couple of weeks ago an English submarine collided underwater with a French submarine. Both were powered by atomic reactors, carried atom bombs and of course, there were missiles on board. Both subs, according to news reports of the semi-secret fender bender, had the very best and terribly expensive high-tech detection radar, ultra sensitive sonar and probably super-secret techno stuff, but they did bump into each other.

Makes one stop and think about the collision avoidance system being touted in so many cars today, doesn’t it? Who is in good hands now?

What do our politicos drive?

Import bias? Sec. Geithner owns 2008 Acura TSX, like this one.

Import bias? Sec. Geithner owns 2008 Acura TSX, like this one.

The Detroit News made headlines with a little piece, this week – also run by USA Today, and – about the brand names of cars the members of the car czars drove. Interesting, very interesting article, which led me to wonder: what do all the members of Congress, House and Senate, Cabinet members and high ranking bureaucrats drive? How about some research somebody?

Car prices drop in Dubai

Not that anyone really gives a damn, but luxury car prices in the nation that’s the home of building excess in the land of excess is in a major financial meltdown too. The unique nation received a huge loan from other nations in the area and according to the Times of London, luxury car prices have dropped 40%! Tch, tch.

Dopiest release of the week

As GM is losing – burning millions of dollars literally every hour, yet their undaunted PR department issues a release about the Acadia getting an award from Bark Buckle Up as the recipient of the Pet Safe Chose Award for 2009. And it beat “over two dozen” other entries.

Nothing like meaningful communication priorities is there? And how many people are going to even consider, much less buy a car that’s pet safe?

Till next week. Send me your nominations. Post a comment. Do something.

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2 Responses to “Marty’s Marketing Minutia”

  1. Arnie Spellman says:

    Very interesting and well done.

  2. Ron Rose says:

    Great column and just what we need. Someone has finally gathered up all the “in stuff” about cars and advertising and put it a nice, tight wrapper. As to the Nissan spot, nice pix, cute concept but all it showed were girls, cars doing things the average guy can’t do in public without getting a ticket and no dashboards or detailed interiors. Okay…picky.