A Redback to Remember

Today we’re going to delve a little deeper into the behind the scenes of a couple of commercials from last years Lexus, A December to Remember campaign. Lexus, a relatively new brand has firmly established itself in the Luxury Car market especially within the US, rubbing shoulders year after year with German heavy weights, BMW and Mercedes.


This is impressive for the Japanese made Toyota spin-off and the meteoric rise is in no small part accelerated by their epic December to Remember campaigns. These commercials commenced in 1999 and unknowingly at the time, created the now iconic Big Red Bows wrapped around the Lexus. Since then, their leadership in advertising holiday season car sales has transformed this previously quiet period for the ubiquitous car salesman into one of the busiest, and most creative, times of the year.

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In 2017, there were three commercials in the December to Remember series, each of course, featuring the iconic Big Red Bow. All were set in wintry driveways on the East Coast of America. All were shot in the blistering late summer sun of California in September. We will go behind the scenes of two of these commercials (as, to be honest, these are the only ones we happen to have some BTS shots of…oh, on that note, due to popular demand of these Behind the Scenes glimpses, its our intention moving forward to take more BTS shots, even some video, so we can flesh these blogs out in future!)

For the 2017 Christmas, the campaign centered around the childlike joy of holidays, reminding adults that the unbridled excitement is still out there for the taking if you are willing to see it, and also give and receive Luxury cars; ”nothing brings out your inner joy like the holidays (and expensive vehicles)’ These brilliant commercials were directed by the inimitable and unflappable Autumn de Wilde of Anonymous Content, photographer turned director extraordinaire with the midas touch.

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The first spot, "Stunned,"

shows a young boy questioning how a Lexus RX could possibly be for him. “Is this for me? For real?” He breaks out his killer dance moves. Excellent. This commercial was shot with the car in the blazing 110 degree Californian sun on a house on an unprotected, glaringly bright Silver Lake hilltop . The first step was to remove the sun. Two 20ft flyswatters were erected to completely block out the rays and then subsequently the grips’ job all day was to chase the shadow, angling the flyswatters to maximize shadow. The large shade cloth underneath was to let the light in, obviously, but not too much!


The close up of the young boy in the doorway is really where the Redback shines (stupid pun intended). It is a single lamp, un-diffused. The 180 degree teaser is in full use here, cutting the light so the reflection of the light is not in the glass door behind. Easy, one light, one C stand. No diff, no flags. 


The second spot, "Dancer,"

 starts with this handsome lad holding a snow shovel He has a beautiful soft wrap with a brighter hard edge which was created by two Redbacks, also undiffused. That is the beauty of the Redback, the light is soft when its un-diffused state, so it remains bright enough to compete with the harsh Cali sun. In addition, being directional,the Redback lights the subject without blowing out the background of unnervingly white snow.


The Lexus is in the garage. The only lighting on this car is the natural light through the open garage door, which is diffused by a 20 x 20 cloth. There is also a barely noticeable Redback with a full diffusion (for reflection purposes) shining on the Logo. You’d never know this unless you were looking, but its the most important part of the entire commercial. If the logo isn't glowing, we’ve failed. The back window of the garage is masked with a painted back drop, to block out the fact that behind it is a typical Californian bungalow likely with a few hippies smoking weed on the roof waxing lyrical about socialism (joking…..not really, its more than a little possible that was true).





The last spot, “Whispers,” opens on a sweet girl in a red coat and beret as her jaw, and the snowball she’s holding, drops to the ground.. She was equally adorable behind the scenes and somehow, no-one got any shots of the shoot on this day. So, you’ll just have to take our word for it, but this TVC too, lit entirely with Redbacks.This was last years December to Remember. Believe it or not, we’re almost around to that time of spreading luxury car holiday cheer again. Yay. Stay tuned, there will be updates when the NDA’s allow.




If you can make the person watching something wish they were there, then you’ve succeeded at making something great.
— Autumn de Wilde
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