LOS ANGELES -- Toyota's youth-oriented Scion vehicles will hit the streets of California this week with a low-key but sharply targeted advertising campaign.
Four TV spots and a print campaign will be the crux of the introduction of the two cars. There are no spoken words in the TV commercials - only a musical soundtrack ranging from thumping beats to thrashing metal. The only words on screen are a flash of the Scion logo and a two-second display of vehicle pricing.
"We wanted to get Scion out there as something sophisticated and urban, without putting a lot of information out there," says Dawn Morgan, national manager of Scion marketing communications. "The ads are meant for image and brand building. We'll let the ads speak for themselves."
Scion faced a big challenge with its media buy. It needed to generate brand awareness, but at the same time it couldn't go too mainstream for fear of alienating the mostly male 16- to 30-year-olds the company hopes to attract.
For TV, media buyers picked programs on MTV and Comedy Central as well as late-night talk shows. The TV commercials, shot in Australia, are themed "Scion By" and show how Scions are interpreted by various personalities such as disc jockeys and science-fiction fans. The tag line is "What Moves You."
The print buy is more obscure. Although Scion marketers did place ads in ESPN The Magazine and Spin, much of the print emphasis is in hard-to-find publications such as WYWS, Complex, Tokion, XLR8R and regionally distributed magazines.
"We want to be invited in, not to push in," Morgan says. She declines to give a launch budget, but a small-volume vehicle introduced nationwide typically has a $30 million ad budget.
Scion also will have a presence on billboards as well as in cinemas as part of movie previews. And the brand is working hard to keep its Web site current. There are about 12,000 registered users at www.scion.com, of which 75 percent are under age 35 and male, Morgan says.
The advertising initially will be shown only in California. But as Scion expands this year through both the East and West coasts, the ad buy will go national.
The vehicles go on sale in California on Monday, June 9. All 104 California Scion dealers have one xA and one xB in stock for test drives, and that already has resulted in "a couple hundred" sold orders based on one weekend of test drives, says Jim Farley, Scion vice president.
Most of the sales have been of the more heavily promoted, boxy xB. But Farley says interest in the more curvaceous xA is "coming on real strong."