Lexus has launched a bizarre Christmas campaign in North America, urging people to switch off social media sites like Facebook and Twitter and go outside.
One ad called 'Dinner' shows a woman using Pinterest, about to like a picture of a plate of vegetables. After wrestling with her inner torment, she turns off her laptop, bundles her family into her red Lexus SUV and goes off to a restaurant, where she tucks into a plate of real veg.
Get a FREE LEXUS Brochure
Looking for a new car then why not start with a glossy LEXUS brochure
"This December, remember, you can stay in and 'like' something. Or you can get out there with your family and actually 'like' something," says the ad, in an apparent snub to social networking.
A second commercial shows a woman on an iPad seemingly stalking an attractive guy, debating whether to add him on Facebook. After ditching her tablet, she gets in her Lexus, goes to a party and talks to him.
A third ad shows a man on the couch watching a band on YouTube, before being urged to "get out there with his friends and actually share something." He then gets in his Lexus and goes to watch the band.
Lexus out the house
Ironically scores of people took to social media to lambast the ad campaign as soon as it was launched. One Twitter user, @BurnettsBoards, leapt to the defence of social media: "Anyone else see the new Lexus commercials that totally disses Pinterest?"
"How dare they!" raged @CorinneCarlson5, while @jaredMermey wasn't happy with the manufacturer "[taking] a shot at Pinterest."
Interestingly he also predicted that a 'social media backlash will become a theme in old media'. Many have pointed out that scores of clued-up manufacturers are currently using social media to their advantage in creative, interactive ways.
Ferrari, for instance, has recently celebrated surpassing the ten million 'like' mark on Facebook, while Peugeot is holding a live Facebook Q&A on Monday to discuss the restyled Peugeot RCZ Sports Coupé with fans.
Not only is Lexus's social backlash surprising, but it's also reportedly confusing its franchised dealerships. @LindsayLexus tweeted its followers last week urging them to go on Pinterest to like pictures of vintage models.
Lexus spokesperson Nancy Hubbell emailed CNBC to say: "The message is basically that connecting with people online is great, but for the holidays people should connect in person (and, of course, drive to their destination to do so.)
"We're not dissing anything, just encouraging people to get out for the holidays."
Luxury car maker Lexus, owned by Toyota, has launched the campaign in the U.S. but latest sales figures show the brand is struggling in the UK. In November, Lexus sales fell by nearly 50 per cent compared to November 2011 after only 443 cars were sold.
This is in contrast to an increase in sales for rivals such as BMW, Audi, Mercedes and Jaguar in the same period.
What do you think? Does Lexus have a point, or are they being left behind entirely in the social revolution? Let us know below or via social media.
Written by John Meadowcroft.