In a neat reverse of the usual ‘let’s put a Starbucks in our showroom’, Lexus in South Korea have created a coffee lounge that has a couple of cars thrown in.

Ok, so perhaps that not all that innovative, but the driver of this project is worth pausing for. The showroom (lounge, meeting point, reception?) in Seoul was created by Toyota to help address the challenge for a brand which has less than 1% market share – and with mass-market advertising costs so prohibitively high (even for Toyota?), the strategy appears to be more effectively achieved through real-estate: and not the digital-at-all-costs-first, screen-real-estate but the real plasterboard and carpets variety.

The design rationale and direction was also a ‘hands-on’ affair, with the notion of ‘(the) feeling of running your hand along the car’ as the creative idea. As the headline in Frame suggested, increasing brand awareness by taking product out is an interesting thought. Perhaps what’s more interesting is the old-fashioned idea of a ‘hands-on’ experience bought to the customer can still find a place with the most cutting edge of brands. Here’s to more ‘real’ estate.

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About Richard Hill

Creative director, writer, designer, illustrator based in the UK with global project experience and consulting skills across sectors.

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