If you’ve spent a lot of time on Facebook this week, you might have heard that Lexus has a new advert, and one or two people think it unfairly ridicules classical music.

Here it is:

[It goes like this: Guy drives car as Mozart plays. We see the music is coming from three string players in the back of the car. The car stops, he kicks the string players out, and drives off listening to something rather less serene.]  

I’m among the first to speak up when I think classical music is being unfairly represented, or when somebody’s trotting out tired clichés about our artform, but this isn’t one of those times.

This is not about you. This is not about classical music. This is about selling cars. If you’re upset by this, you’ve either not seen many Lexus ads, or you need to stop taking yourself so seriously.

Lexus didn’t just sidle on up to classical music and appropriate it as shorthand for stuffy and dull. This isn’t the first time Lexus has used classical music in an advert. They’ve been doing it for years. Lexus has built its brand by using classical music to suggest that driving one of their cars is a luxurious experience enjoyed by sophisticated people who appreciate the finer things in life.

They want you to think of their new car as exciting, sporty and adventurous. You could normally illustrate all those attributes with orchestral music, of course, but music has a history with their brand. They’ve used classical music to mean “luxurious and sophisticated” for more than a decade. Now they’re saying their new car isn’t like that, or rather it can be, but it doesn’t have to be – not all the time.

The only thing they’re making fun of here is other Lexus ads, and they’re doing it in Australia, where adverts are funny and people are expected not to take themselves too seriously.

If you don’t want people to think classical musicians are uptight, you might want to chill out a bit.


One Comment

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  1. Michael #
    November 17, 2014

    I read this guys response to all of this and thought you should know

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