Building a Lexus on TiVo

DVR maker adds feature that lets viewers create a dream Lexus--the latest twist to a new wave of marketing.

Candace Lombardi
In a software-driven world, it's easy to forget about the nuts and bolts. Whether it's cars, robots, personal gadgetry or industrial machines, Candace Lombardi examines the moving parts that keep our world rotating. A journalist who divides her time between the United States and the United Kingdom, Lombardi has written about technology for the sites of The New York Times, CNET, USA Today, MSN, ZDNet, Silicon.com, and GameSpot. She is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not a current employee of CNET.
Candace Lombardi
TiVo owners can now build a virtual Lexus on their television sets.

Many car manufacturers already offer a build-your-own feature on their Web sites that lets perspective buyers, or dreamers, choose their color, interior and options, while keeping a tally of the total cost of the package.

TiVo said Thursday it has partnered with Lexus to offer that same type of experience via the broadband-connected Series2 TiVo model. A tag TiVo subscribers can click on appears throughout the entire commercial. Users who click on the tag can explore the product with the interactive application, while their show remains paused.

"The whole idea is to embed interactive features in TV spots," Davina Kent, vice president of national advertising sales for TiVo told CNET News.com.

TiVo has plans with other advertisers to offer more of these interactive applications, a feature TiVo believes, based on its own testing, deters commercial skipping, Kent said.

The new feature follows TiVo's recent launch of free on-demand commercial content. That content consists of various informational spots ranging in length from one to 60 minutes.

TiVo viewers will now be able to use their DVR to create a virtual rendering of the 2007 Lexus ES 350. The new Lexus sedan debuted at the Chicago Auto Show in February.

Viewers can also use their TiVo to request a local Lexus dealer to contact them and schedule a test drive, as well as view informational programming on the car.