Lexus' Tradition and Technology Merge with He & Me
He & Me have made a name for themselves creating some of the most compelling car campaigns for the world’s favorite brands. To the layman what they do is about flash and beauty but Yona Heckl and Tom Mennemann, the duo behind He & Me, recognize that they’re a piece of an incredible history that reaches back to the first cars of the early 1900s. Since the beginning automobiles have offered a cosmopolitan alternative to more savage power, and an understanding about how we place ourselves in our society. “Cars, even if they’re an SUV, are always connected to urbanity,” says Tom. They’re a seamless blending of citizen and machine for the purposes that we need them, utilitarian in function. But brands like Lexus offer even more, injecting class and sophistication into a tool and helping to describe our way of seeing the world.
Part of the reason they chose to shoot in Toronto is the varied architecture in the Canadian city. But unlike other cities where different types of architecture are relegated to separate neighborhoods, Toronto offers a mix of classic and ultra modern all blended together. In one instance, the Crystal Room at Royal Ontario Museum, it’s in the same building. For He & Me, this combination offered the perfect visual metaphor to act as the background for the Lexus campaign. Lexus has a heritage unlike many brands, but they’re always incorporating the latest technology to keep their drivers safe and their machines running with the best.
As photographers, Tom and Yona are tasked with bringing forth what it is Lexus is trying to communicate with their products. Their work has to show off the success of what Lexus does and continue the story from the actual design of the car into the story of the campaign. For He & Me, that story is simple: it’s sophisticated, clean, and rooted in reality. “The design language of Lexus is quite amazing and always ahead of the times,” says Tom. “The people who are driving those cars recognize nice images around them, nice details, so that’s why we tried to show that it’s not just always about a car, it’s the lifestyle.” Tom and Yona are taking their cues from the Lexus consumer whose taste has helped Lexus shape their own progression: it’s a dialogue between object and interpretation, beauty with the heart of function.