For the members of Generation Y who (hope they) have stable jobs and incomes and are (reasonably) confident about their financial future, Acura has a message: The brand has a car for you, the new "gateway" model ILX.
The Honda-owned luxury brand is debuting the all-new compact luxury sedan at a starting price of $25,900 with the expectation (and new messaging) that young Americans in their early thirties, with their act together and decent prospects, are going to gravitate to what Acura calls a true luxury car at an attainable entry-level price point.
"This car was specifically designed for these people because of what they've gone through," Mike Accavitti, Acura's U.S. CMO, told brandchannel.
Growing up, he added, "they've seen and experienced and touched luxury and wealth. So their expectations are there — but the realities of today's post-recessionary economy are that this generation may be the first that actually ends up earning less than the previous one."
Its new campaign comes as Acura is fighting the perception that it's a "lost brand." Not that Acura's new marketing push is a downer. Quite the opposite — it's aspirational if not inspirational. "The idea is that they can experience luxury and have a special vehicle and the feeling associated with it, but it doesn't cost an arm and a leg to get into it," Accavitti said.
In a pair of new U.S. TV commercials, an ILX owner has his life going on two tracks, one work and one play, which meet only when he gets into his ILX. "Life should be equal parts responsibility and fun," goes the tagline in both spots. "Move up, without settling down." (So think of Acura as the "Let's Get Lost" brand, perhaps.)
The two spots depict the model's dual personality (work or play) with a Thomas Crown Affair-like split screen, with separate but complementary story lines on each side.
But that's not all Acura is doing to introduce ILX. True to other proclivities of Millennials and post-Boomers, Acura is going with a heavy focus on music in its marketing as well, as its TV and in-theater ads feature notable tunes from The Ting Tings and Nick Waterhouse. Acura is supporting the launch with its largest-ever budget allocation to interactive media, with placements scheduled on sites such as Xbox LIVE, Pandora and (the in-transition) website that is Good.
The brand also is sponsoring a summer tour by an indie band — whose identity it won't disclose just yet — that will span five U.S. cities and give lots of love to the ILX, including having the model on display at concert venues and the ILX participating in music videos.
"This is a heavily music-driven target," Accavitti said. With any luck, the results will be music to his (and young car buyers') ears.