In an unusual move, Lexus is backing what is being called the first, feature-length, major motion picture made specifically for online distribution.

The movie, “Girls in a Bar,” premiers Friday, March 11 for free on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/screeningroom.

YouTube pitched the project to Lexus, Lexus Vice President-Marketing Dave Nordstrom told AutoTrader.com.

Toyota's luxury marque is using the effort as part of the integrated ad launch for the CT200h and is hoping the online film will attract a younger target.

“With the CT200h, Lexus is reaching out to a new, younger target, one that is energetic, passionate and, like the CT itself, refuses to be confided by accepted norms and the status quo,” Nordstrom said.

The film is anything but conventional.

A dentist, played by Zachary Quinto, sets off a cross-town chain reaction in 10 Los Angeles bars, strip clubs and even a nudist ping pong club, after putting the final touches on a plan to have his wife killed. Other stars of “Girls in a Bar” include Danny DeVito, Rosario Dawson, Alexis Bledel and Josh Hartnett.

Todd Turner, president of consultancy CarConcepts, said he believes Lexus is on the right track with the project. “Lexus is trying to show it can be classy and still have some fun.”

The average age of Lexus buyers has been creeping up and showing no signs of abatement, Turner said.

The average age of a Lexus owner was just under 54 years old, according to TrueCar.com research last summer.

Younger people are less judgmental than baby boomers, even liberal ones, and have different morality limits, said Turner. The kinds of television programs they like, such as Showtime's “Nurse Jackie,” do not resonate with older viewers.

“This movie might just be oddball enough to appeal to younger people.”

He seems to be right on the money, since all 14 of the early comments to the movie trailer on YouTube.

are positive.

Lexus will promote the film with via social media, along with other undisclosed partners, a Lexus spokeswoman said.

author photo

Jean Halliday is a seasoned journalist with the nation's longest consecutive run covering auto advertising. Her years in the trenches include stints at Automotive News, Adweek and Advertising Age. The native New Yorker now lives outside the Motor City. You can read Jean's blog at AutoAdOpolis.wordpress.com.

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