For its latest campaign of nontraditional marketing, Scion is sponsoring a national tour of independent films, including chats with their directors.
The youth-oriented Toyota brand will not display its vehicles at the theaters that show the movies.
But Scion will run a 30-second commercial before each film. And theatergoers will take home promotional goods, such as Scion T-shirts.
More important, the so-called Route Tour will raise the brand's profile with influential image-makers, says Scion's sales and promotion manager, Jeri Yoshizu.
"It is helping to shape the personality of Scion," Yoshizu told Automotive News. "Scion is solidifying its image as a creative brand that does interesting projects. The people making the films are trendsetters."
The four-month tour will cost Scion "well under $300,000," Yoshizu says.
The tour begins next month. It will show four films in six cities: Los Angeles, New York, Seattle, Atlanta, Minneapolis and Austin, Texas. Admission to the films is free.
The works are "urban-life films, usually based on either music or the art community," Yoshizu says. For example, one of the films, Infamy, explores the lives of graffiti artists.
Scion's marketing strategy seeks to reach its target consumers through music, film, art and fashion. The Route Tour is an outgrowth of a film marketing event that began at the brand's inception.
In 2003 and 2004, Scion hosted showings on college campuses. It did not work well, Yoshizu says, adding that students were pressed for time.
Instead of dropping the film series, she adds, Scion worked "to fix it and make it better."
Yoshizu chose the films with the help of an internal Scion committee.
"These are independent films not picked up by a national studio for distribution," she says. "We are not going after the person who just got out of NYU (film school) and has a movie."
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