Toyota's Scion brand has advertised on national TV for two months. But the automaker is not abandoning the offbeat marketing campaigns that have generated buzz, especially among younger buyers.
A new promotion features an online game called Road Trip. Online Scion drivers compete to win prizes by accruing virtual miles.
Another promotion called NextUp is a contest Scion is sponsoring among aspiring rappers. The contest winner gets a Scion marketing deal.
Scion must weigh its desire to keep its marketing efforts under the radar against its need to gain national attention. It's a balancing act, says Dawn Ahmed, Scion's national marketing manager.
In May, Scion started running commercials on cable and broadcast TV networks for its tC, xA and xB vehicles. The new promotions represent a return to Scion's strategies of Internet and music-related marketing.
"We have to maintain an authentic feeling," Ahmed says. "Our mass (media) is focused. Our print media is focused but all the media has to remain true to the Scion brand."
Road Trip consists of a series of weekly contests over two months. Drivers compete to rack up virtual miles by creating and sending electronic postcards to friends nationwide.
Drivers use the postcards to create their own customized tC. When a friend registers to become a "destination" on a driver's trip, the driver gets credit for the mileage from the previous stop on the journey.
The grand prize is an onboard navigation system with a retail price of $2,200.
The winner of the Next Up contest will get a marketing deal that includes a music video. He or she will perform the contest-winning song at Scion-sponsored events.
Ahmed says Scion will not back away from TV advertising, at least for now. Scion will produce new commercials for the tC, xA and xB. The commercials will have limited runs on cable networks and late-night broadcast TV.
The TV commercials "will sustain themselves for some time," Ahmed says. "Hopefully, sometime early next year we will refresh those (ads)."