Lexus Celebrates Undokai in Japan – “Amazing in Motion” Takes a New Twist

By Steve & Tamami Laser, with Nahoko Osuka reporting from Japan

The Lexus “Amazing in Motion” campaign is known worldwide thanks to its remarkably creative endeavors like the Hoverboard SLIDE. The latest chapter comes from Japan where Lexus released a commercial to celebrate the national “Undokai” sports day and promote its new IS 200t sport sedan.

Undokai4For those who are unfamiliar with the Undokai tradition, we’ll do our best to describe it. Growing up in Japan, our managing and contributing editors participated in Undokai sports events in school with competitions like relay races, human pyramids, and tug-of-war. For a reward, participants jumped up to grab an anpan (a small pancake-like treat filled with sweet-bean paste) dangling from a string – without using their hands.

Lexus gave Undokai an entirely new twist with this home-market commercial for the IS 200t. Instead of students running on a field, they employed two women to compete in sporting events staged in a desert setting for added drama.

Undokai8The course included “Zig Zag Running,” driving cars in a slalom while kicking up dust for the camera. The action kicks up a notch with the “Giant Ball Rolling” competition, which is based on an actual Undokai event (usually held without cars, of course).

Undokai3This scene required serious planning and several takes to get it right. (By the way, as the saying goes, “Please don’t try these maneuvers at home.” They were performed on a closed-circuit course.)

Undokai7Then comes the frosting on the cake, or in this case, the sweet-bean filling, as the dynamic duo attempts the “Pan Kui Kyoso,” anpan maneuver. They make it look easy, yet this is one of the most challenging Undokai events.

Undokai5By now, we have a pretty strong desire to run out and get our own anpan (and a Lexus IS too). Lucky consumers in Tokyo have a chance to purchase these customized “Amazing” anpan (below) similar to those used in the commercial.

AmazingAnpanThis isn’t any off-the-shelf anpan. It was especially created for Lexus by Ginza Kimuraya, a famous Japanese bakery with its main store in the Ginza district of Tokyo.

IntersectTokyo1“Intersect by Lexus” is featuring an “Amazing in Motion: Undokai” exhibit with an IS 200t on display and special Kimuraya anpans on sale.

Called a “luxury brand experience space” Intersect by Lexus in Tokyo’s Aoyama (above) opened in 2013 as part of its “Amazing in Motion” endeavors. Neither a dealership, nor a traditional retail space, visitors can “engage with Lexus through design, art, fashion, culture, film, music and technology.”

A second Intersect by Lexus location opened recently in Dubai, while a third is planned for New York.

News source and photos courtesy Lexus Japan, Intersect by Lexus, and Toyota Motor Corp.

Story ©2016