In Depth

Lexus to Air Live Ads, Fueled by Social Suggestions, During NBC's 'Late Night' -- Improv Comedians Will Ask Viewers for Ad Concepts

By Jeanine Poggi
Advertising Age

Lexus plans to air a series of live commercials during NBC's "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" capitalizing on social media to draw viewers' involvement in real time.

Every Thursday night from Thursday through Oct. 10, improvisational comedians will use an early commercial break in "Late Night" to call for ad concepts, which viewers can submit through social media with a #LexusIS hashtag.

The submissions will influence the content of live ads featuring the improv performers to run during the final commercial break. East and West Coast broadcasts of the commercials will be different each time and based on different social media suggestions.

The ads, carrying the theme "It's Your Move After Dark," won't come from the set of the show but instead will be broadcast from under the Brooklyn Bridge.

"We're always looking for new ways to engage consumers and capture their attention by delivering information in innovative ways," Brian Bolain, Lexus corporate manager of marketing communications, said in a statement. "By utilizing social and broadcast media simultaneously, 'It's Your Move After Dark' breaks the traditional commercial mold and showcases the all-new IS in an entirely unique and DVR-proof way."

The social media submissions will be performed by New York comedy troupes like Fun Young Guys, Magnet Theater Touring Company, MB's Dram and Stone Cold Fox.

NBC will air a 15-second promotional teaser for the campaign during Wednesday night's late-night programming to prompt audiences to participate the following night.

There have been recent attempts at live commercials, mostly in the late-night arena. NBC has aired live spots for Garmin during the "Tonight Show with Jay Leno," while ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live" has delivered live spots for brands like Quiznos and Nikon.

Live commercials were commonplace in the early days of TV, but essentially died out once shows became pre-recorded.