A (NOT SO) BRIEF HISTORY
This subset of Toyota was founded in 2002 with a very specific market segment in mind: Generation Y of the United States. (You heard right, this brand isn’t sold anywhere else in the world. Yet. September 2010 marks its release in Canada.) Given such a limited target, they were allowed certain freedoms in marketing strategies that wouldn’t have been feasible on a massive scale. Honestly, the company’s promotions resemble the evolution of a cultural trend than product-pushing which is either awesomely authentic or brilliantly engineered. Either way, remarkable. Observe:
- The first year of sales were contained to California.
- Advertising started at the ground level- local events, concerts, art shows. TV ads didn’t come til later.
- When TV ads did appear, they were alt as shit
Unsurprisingly, the Scion has been heralded as “one of the auto industry’s most extraordinary marketing success stories” for empowering consumers and creating a market for (what used to be) a new car at a used car price (Ad Age). I think the keys to Scion’s success are sincerity, consistency, and customizability. After all, marketing to Gen Y doesn’t just mean throwing around recycled buzzwords to catch consumer attention, it means creating an experience that is reflected on every level of interaction with the brand.
Divided into my three favorite campaigns: United by Individuality, What Moves You, and Want2BSquare.
The is the commercial that caught my eye and started the ball rolling on my obsession. One of many reasons to stay up late watching adult swim on a large HD screen. The ad pairs visually stunning graphics of the infinite creative possibilities with custom-made sample-based mashups to represent the remix potential of the car’s (and the owner’s) identity.
Any company trying to embrace counter-culture advertising is forced to walk a fine line between garnering support and scorning mass appeal. In a sense, the Scion cars were the perfect product for this balancing act. Consumers can immediately appreciate the quality, as each is essentially a Corolla, which is one of, if not the, best-selling car in its class. At the same time, the aesthetics of each model almost guarantee limited popularity. I’ll admit it, the first time I saw an XB I thought it was horrible. Scion takes advantage of this guttural reaction and markets it as a strength. And THAT’s good advertising.
I love the creepy little kid’s voice, it definitely adds to the overall eeriness of the commercial.
We know some of you think it’s ugly. But we don’t care what you think.
This one fits more into the customizing theme of the other campaign, but I’m categorizing it by tagline. Yup.
WANT 2 B SQUARE
This was one of their most successful guerilla marketing campaigns because it took advantage of the internet back when viral marketing was still ramping up. The websites associated with the campaign featured games, interactive activities and a quirky online atmosphere to draw users in. Nowadays, we expect this from a website. Then again, nowadays we’re all overstimulated, attention-deficit brats spoiled by information overload. So the context is a little different. But I think these commercials transcend context and will remain awesome forever and ever amen.
Reminiscent of Saw this ad follows mad-scientist Christopher-Walken-lookalike in his exploits.
Round to be Square
Delightfully whimsical for such a morbid cartoon.
H’okay. That’s enough for today. Eventually I want tackle the crazy topic that is SCION CONCEPT CARS, PAST PRESENT, FUTURE. But mehh this post is TL;DR enough as it is. Am I right? I’m pretty sure I already mentioned something about information overload but I’m too lazy to scroll back up…well whatever nevermind.
IN THE END, I believe the marketing department of Scion (and those cool cats at ATTIK) are fucking geniuses. They’ve pumped out 8 years of solid, smart eye candy all the while remaining true to their original target and goal. That said, I think the brand is at a cross-roads. Whether Scion sticks with the young-hip-cultural vibe or decides to age along with Gen Y, they’ll have to reassess their strategies and values.