Inspired by the new Lexus ES Self-Charging Hybrid, whose thoughtful features respond to the driver, the campaign is an evolution of personalised advertising, using innovative facial recognition technology

To mark the launch of the Lexus ES Self-Charging Hybrid, Lexus announces the release a one-of-a-kind emotionally intelligent advertisement created to respond to viewer’s emotions. The innovative film experience is the latest evolution in Lexus advertising, designed to read, adapt to and impact viewers’ emotions while they’re watching. This pioneering “Feel Your Best” campaign uses facial recognition in an aim to leave the viewer feeling more positive, while creating a unique and personalized advertising experience.

The experience can be accessed on the following site: https://www.lexus.eu/car-models/es/#ai-experience.

Utilizing the expertise of facial recognition specialists MorphCast, the ad features a unique patented technology using facial analysis to adapt content in real-time.

Using the viewer’s camera, the “Emotional AI” technology is able to read facial expressions. As the viewer engages with the AI, the advertisement responds accordingly with visual and musical changes to the content depending on the viewer’s perceived emotional state. The edit picks up or slows in pace, music gets more exciting or calm, colors become more or less vibrant, and montages with “emotion sequences” are introduced.

While watching, the viewer has full freedom to experiment with the reaction content they receive via the AI by changing facial expressions, and the AI will adapt and react instantly. Each “scan point” along the storyline triggers a different edit from the AI, combining campaign material and hand-selected footage approved by a panel of psychologists. This can result in as much as 3,125 possible combinations.

Working alongside award-winning global production partner Unit9, which is comprised of a specialized team of innovation architects, software engineers and creatives, a panel of psychologists and scientists were hand-selected to bring the campaign to life.

Led by emotion-based design specialist Prof. Mohammad Soleymani, whose research involves developing automatic emotion recognition and behavior understanding methods using psychological signals and facial expressions, the panel helped develop and hone the audiovisual content designed specifically to elicit an emotional response from viewers. The panel also includes Germany-based color psychologist Prof. Dr. Axel Buether and the Founder of IV Audio Branding, sonic alchemist Steve Keller, who is a leading expert in the impact of sound on human emotion. Both Prof. Dr. Axel Buether and Steve Keller have published research into their respective disciplines and given TedTalks on its applications in the real world.

In the search for a driving experience with sensory elevation, Lexus engineers and designers have crafted, in the Lexus ES, a vehicle with intelligent features that recognize and respond to the driver. A prime example is Lexus Climate Concierge which creates a perfect cabin climate by automatically controlling the seat heaters, steering wheel heater and seat ventilation in synergy with the air-conditioning system. An in-car sensor also detects cabin humidity and cabin/windscreen temperature to ensure the windscreen does not fog up. Lexus Climate Concierge also features an updated nanoeTM X system which discharges mildly acidic nano ions from the centre of the air conditioning register to combat dry skin.

Driving feel has also been enhanced by improved rear suspension, brake pedal design and Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS), while the evolution of redefined ride comfort and improvement in “linear responsiveness” is aligned with the brand’s new dynamic performance benchmark: Lexus Driving Signature.

Drawing on these features for inspiration, in 30 seconds the advertisement will attempt to shift viewers’ emotions using multiple levels of audio-visual stimulation, which reflects the sum of all things that make you “Feel Your Best” in the ES.

Spiros Fotinos, Director of Lexus Europe: “We’re excited to share this innovative experience with audiences worldwide. As consumers are seeking more personalized experiences from brands, we wanted to explore the usage of AI to make advertising that responds to the viewer. It’s a first step to show how small, real-time changes to the ad can have a positive impact on how you feel. This logic is also present in the Lexus ES which provides exceptional levels of comfort by controlling a series of sensorial factors. So there is a natural synergy between product and campaign – the advert responds to the viewer’s emotions just as the car responds to the driver’s behavior and needs.”

Prof. Mohammad Soleymani, Affective Computing Expert: “Now more than ever we’re noticing the impact that image, color and sound can have on a viewer’s emotions. These findings are certainly not new, but they are becoming increasingly relevant with the advancements and developments in the field of emotional AI. In our day-to-day lives, we are bombarded by an array of audio-visual stimulation that impact our emotional states, so it’s both refreshing and reassuring that an iconic brand like Lexus is exploring the possibility of bespoke content that aims to leave viewers feeling more positive than they did at the start.”

Zlaten del Castillo, Unit9: “When we were approached with the request of developing the technology for a one-of-a-kind advertisement that utilizes state-of-the-art facial recognition software, we knew instantly that it was a challenge we couldn’t turn down. In 2021, we’re still at the beginning of the journey into the possibilities that AI can help us achieve and given our previous work with Lexus in the field, we couldn’t wait to be involved in making history with the brand for a second time.”