New Lexus Ad Was Created by AI – And it Kinda Feels that Way Too

Lexus has released a new ad for its latest ES model that opens with the announcement that it is “A film written by artificial intelligence. Directed by award-winning human.” Actually, it’s a good thing that they inform viewers of this up front because for most people watching the ad what follows might not be entirely clear.

The spot opens up with a Lexus engineer lovingly readying the car for something – of which we don’t yet know. As the car self-drives away, the camera cuts to the engineer’s face, wrought with concern as if something terrible is imminent.

The car, perhaps sensing this coming danger, hits the open road along the coast to take in what it can of the good life.


Dramatic scene cut to black.

The car is now in a large darkened room used for conducting crash tests. We see another car, smashed beyond repair, being dragged from the scene as the self-driving Lexus gets hooked up to a cable which will drag it at high speed into the back of a semi-truck for testing purposes.

For some reason, the press is there and the “imminent” crash test is being broadcast live, as we see the engineer and his daughter watching the drama unfold on their TV.


The cable pulls the Lexus towards the truck but at the last minute, it intuitively slams on its breaks to avoid the collision – foiling the crash test crew – as the engineer and his daughter embrace with great relief.

It’s alive! And, it’s smarter than us!

Not that it’s a bad piece of ad work, grant it, it is a bit hard to discern what is going on, but the most interesting aspect of the commercial is that it was scripted by AI.

Along for the production ride is Oscar-winner director Kevin Mcdonald who worked on the film along with Visual Voice, The&Partnership, and IBM Watson.

According to Lexus, the commercial took about the same time to produce as a normal ad, and that the AI behind the work housed data that included 15 years of award-winning luxury adverts, along with being schooled on emotional intelligence as to what resonates most with viewers.

It’s hard to gauge how much human and how much AI was involved in the entire process beyond the script itself – which is important. Especially when considering that the script is usually but a backbone to a much more involved process of putting flesh to the bones. so to speak, with actors, location, cinematography, and so much more.

Perhaps down the road (pun intended) as more AI-produced spots emerge, we’ll have more reference points with which to compare this work with. For now, it’s a novelty.

Though its good to know if you somehow get into a situation where you wake up in the back seat of a car getting ready to be run through a crash test, Lexus has you covered.

Bobby McGill

Bobby McGill

Bobby is the founder and publisher of Branding in Asia.

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