28.4.2017 | Content Marketing

Lexus Young Creatives – The Visual Revolution of Auto Industry

Utilizing the power of photography. An entirely different way of gaining visibility, engagement and earned media.

Starting Point

Lexus is a brand that wants to support young, aspiring prospects. Around Europe, Lexus has already organized design- and film-related competitions that help young people to advance in their careers; in Finland, this concept was implemented through a photography-themed contest. The project had two objectives: to find new, talented photographers and to bring a fresh expression of practicing photography to the auto industry.

Dagmar was responsible for planning the Lexus Young Creatives concept, which culminated in an open-air exhibition during the Helsinki Design Week.

Based on the study conducted for Lexus, it was evident that the use of social media plays an integral role for the target segment . The study also highlighted some of the typical characteristics of the target group, such as sassiness and trendiness. Having provided community management for Lexus, Dagmar already knew that Finnish content worked best with local audiences. The localized tone of voice in Lexus’ social media channels was defined by key terms such as “free spirit”, “freshness”, “precursor” and “attention to detail”. This provided us a starting point for planning the concept and social media activities for Lexus. We wanted to respond to the need for Finnish and local content in a trendy and fresh way.

Creative Solution

The aim was to support young prospects and reshape the visual world of auto industry – and do it in the Finnish landscape. Dagmar Stories and Lexus were looking for a new sense of expression, storytelling, street credibility and allure in the photographs taken by the aspiring photographers. The project was turned into a digital campaign which was visible in social media channels, on digital signage and on the campaign site. In addition, the campaign was present at Helsinki Design Week, an event sponsored by Lexus.

The high-quality photo shoots were an experience both for the contest finalists and their mentor, photographer Jere Hietala. Doing photo shoots with cars is a demanding task that requires a lot of skill as colors, lights and shadows set certain limitations. It was important that the photos were taken in authentic locations, and the weather and time therefore created some additional challenges.

The finalists did well in the photo shoots and the results lived up to the expectations, receiving praise from the client. Each young photographer got to pour their vision and style into the photos.

Campaign Execution

Dagmar Stories created and produced the photo contest inspired by Lexus Europe’s previous activities. The concept also aimed to address the observation made during the collaboration and content production by Dagmar Stories and Lexus: the level of engagement among the target group was higher for Finnish content. We therefore wanted to create impressive photos of Finland taken by Finnish photographers: our wish was that the modern way of living, Finnish urbanism and nature would come across in the photographs.

“Lexus wanted to offer young prospects the opportunity to learn something new, but also enable them to bring something different into the carefully regulated, established world of auto industry photographing, and get to show their skills to the public”, explains Heikki Laukkanen, the Marketing Manager of Lexus.

Jere Hietala, a well-established photographer, was brought in as a mentor for the young photographers. Together with the client, Jere selected the photographers who would advance in the contest. He got to know them and spurred them during the photo shoots; he also documented the photo shoots and photographed each of the finalists. The contest culminated in the opening ceremony and exhibition during Helsinki Design Week.

Campaign timeline:

The photos were taken in different locations, on the countryside and in the city. The aim was to communicate the target group’s lifestyle as well as reach a new target group with a new style. The photos were presented both through social media channels (Instagram, Facebook) and the campaign site (http://www.lexus.fi/youngcreatives). Additionally, the photos were turned into an urban exhibition on digital signage around Helsinki for a period of two weeks. The opening of the digital exhibition and the winner of the photo contest were celebrated at Helsinki Design Week’s Kupla.


Due to the target group’s media usage and the small media budget, the focus of Lexus Young Creatives -concept was on social media. The results were good, both regarding the increase in the number of followers as well as the general social media buzz that the campaign generated.

The exhibition was carried out as an open-air display on digital signage in downtown Helsinki. This resulted in 3,9 million contacts per week. It was a novel way of implementing an exhibition; instead of putting the photos in a gallery, they were placed among the general public.

Lexus was the main partner of Helsinki Design Week, and this ensured a high level of visibility for the concept through Helsinki Design Week’s channels. Both the concept and the exhibition were considered newsworthy by the media. All the social media buzz trickled down to the grass roots, and this was somewhat of a new experience for Lexus. As the concept focused on social media channels, the number of followers increased, too. The number of Instagram followers doubled. Additionally, compared to an average month, the daily reach of Facebook posts tripled, and the number of comments and likes was five times that of a regular month.

The concept also provided us with interesting and engaging, Finnish content that can be used in the brand’s own channels for a long time. The campaign page brought a good amount of additional traffic to the brand’s web page. During Helsinki Design Week, almost 11% of Lexus.fi -visitors were Lexus Young Creatives -visitors. The campaign attracted a high level of interest from the media and the amount of earned media was good – the increase was 100% compared to the previous years.

Moreover, four young photographers received a confidence boost and a large audience for their work (the photographers were compensated for their photographs and the winner got to travel to Japan). You can check out the finalists here!


Design and Production:

Sirpa Blomqvist, Dagmar Stories, Content Planner
Viivi Lehtonen, Dagmar Stories, Content Strategist
Heidi Hentula, Dagmar, Client Manager

Heikki Laukkanen Senior Manager, Head of Lexus
Marika Elovaara, Digital Marketing Specialist
Jere Hietala, Photographer


Aaro Keipi
Iiro Rautiainen
Tarina Tommiska
Tommi Mäntysalo

More cases