A new era of marketing at Acura is underway as the brand focuses on performance, youth and optimism

Acura's new campaign, What a Ride, focuses on Precision Crafted Performance.

Luxury automaker Acura is out with a new campaign for its 2018 TLX sedan that it says reflects a new era in Acura marketing. That’s because the brand is going back to its roots with messaging about Precision Crafted Performance and an overarching thesis that includes exhilarating experiences, youthful optimism and meaningful innovation.

“If you don’t have a thesis, you chase what’s interesting,” said Ed Beadle, senior manager of integrated marketing, of the brand’s previous efforts, adding Acura tended to stay within the script used by other luxury car brands.

More recently, however, Acura did some soul searching and decided to focus on its origin as the performance division of Honda.

In fact, Beadle said Precision Crafted Performance is the tagline Acura used when it launched in 1986.

“You will never out-German the Germans,” Beadle said. “For us, it’s about being true to ourselves.”

The new campaign, What a Ride, reflects Acura’s newfound sense of self in “a color-rich, visually dynamic and unexpected journey filled with lightning-fast imagery and thought-provoking language,” the brand said in a release.

It is set to hip-hop artist and producer Kid Ink’s The Movement and the voiceover is by actor Michael B. Jordan, who is just 30 years old.

That’s not a coincidence. The effort is meant to have a decidedly youthful feel.

Further, Beadle said the brand’s new thesis gives it a filter of sorts that helps identify the right assets – which are those that breed optimism and happiness.

The brand debuted this direction in January 2016 with Point of View.

What a Ride spots include: Geek + Chic, which highlights performance; Wild + Things, which introduces the A-Spec model and the NSX supercar; Warp + Speed, which shows off precision handling and superior control; and Force + Field, which focuses on safety and driver-assistive features, known as AcuraWatch.

What’s more, the campaign was shot with vertical cameras, which means the content will not be compromised when translated to mobile.

“This same content works across horizontal formats, like television, by simply dividing the screen into three, relying on triptych story arcs and provocative word pairings to express the multi-faceted and dynamic nature of the TLX – and the Acura brand,” Acura said in the release.

An Acura rep said this triptych format means there’s potentially 180 different cuts for the 30-second spots alone. This modular approach also allows the brand to maintain some consistency while swapping out messages for different audiences.

The creative showcases the sedan as sporty and aggressive, including red leather seating, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration and the AcuraWatch suite of active safety and driver assistive technologies, which come standard on all 2018 TLX models.

But the high-tech features are also meant to appeal to a younger demographic.

Consumers will see the TLX across Acura’s premium networks in cable TV and premium environments in online video. Local TV efforts will boost awareness in Acura’s key sales markets and among Hispanic consumers, the release said. Acura also said it will continue to employ a data-driven approach to reach key shopping prospects by pinpointing in-market households through addressable TV.

“Through various high impact, immersive opportunities, such as Tapad’s mobile vertical video, Facebook canvas and carousel ad units, and Snapchat’s Snap Ads...[in which] users can actually learn more about and engage with the TLX, Acura will have the ability to not only prioritize messaging based on consumers’ interests and needs, but also connect with them in an entirely new way,” the release added.

The 2018 Acura TLX is slated to go on sale in June.

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