If you saw bizarre images flashing on a tall building near Staples Center and heard pounding industrial/techno music after leaving a Lakers playoff game, don't worry, you weren't hallucinating. It's a radical new advertising campaign launched by Lexus.

The luxury car label is attempting to attract a younger, hipper consumer to buy its new sporty IS 300 sedan, which hit showrooms last week. The car competes directly with BMW's 3 series, which also appeals to a younger, upscale market.

To beat out BMW, Lexus decided it needed to do something unusual that would grab people's attention. The solution was to use projection media, which Lexus has used at three Los Angeles sites and is rolling out in Venice this week.

Beginning at 8:30 p.m., moving images are beamed onto the sides of large buildings or blank billboards, often in places where pedestrian traffic is high.

The advertising campaign debuted June 9, the same night the Lakers played game two of the NBA finals at Staples Center. Lexus and Team One Advertising, the El Segundo-based agency that developed the campaign with Herring Media Group of Sausalito, set up a projector and sound system in the parking lot next to the Holiday Inn on South Figueroa Street.

As the sun disappeared, the lights went on and the ads were projected in giant images until midnight on the side of the nearly 100-foot-tall hotel.

About 20,000 fans saw the ad as they spilled out of the new sports arena.

"We didn't know what to expect. But people on the street were dancing to the music from the projected ad, "said Bonnie Chan, a spokeswoman for Team One Advertising. "We've gotten some really good comments."

If spectators weren't attracted by the pounding music, they were probably roped in by the attention-grabbing images that spanned the side of the Holiday Inn. The series of six spots last a little more than two minutes and then repeat.

There is a giraffe woman (a giraffe-spotted human body with a woman's head) gyrating her limbs. A headless man wearing a leather vest over his bare chest pops into the foreground, also wiggling back and forth.

Other images portray hands growing out of fingers, legless lizard men, and sword-carrying gladiators. "How far do you have to go to get a reaction?" reads the superimposed script. "Just this far. The New IS."


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