There's a method to Scion's weirdness.
The latest TV campaign for the new iM hatchback and iA compact sedan uses a mix of familiar ingredients: cars driving through beautiful landscapes, close-ups of the interiors and a script that ticks off standard features such as backup cameras and dual-zone climate control.
But then, apropos of Scion, things get weird: Actor Jaleel White, Urkel of the 1990s sitcom "Family Matters," takes a ride with a wax version of his nerdy alter ego (cool and unmelted in the passenger seat). Actor/teacher/filmmaker James Franco shows off his multitasking ways. And, weirdest of all, a "recently liberated" gyrating "tube man" who's no longer flapping his arms in front of a car dealership uses his ribbon fingers to point out the 7-inch touch screen.
The "Weird, Right?" campaign, launched in September, shows the millennial target audience that practicality can be fun, says Neil Heymann, executive creative director for Droga5, the New York agency that developed the ads.
Scion has "given us the green light to do things a little differently, but not without purpose," said Heymann, whose agency also was behind the Toyota Mirai's "Fueled by Everything" campaign, which included the "Fueled by Bullsh*t" video that highlighted the hydrogen content of manure. "It's not crazy for crazy's sake or, I guess, in our case, weird for weird's sake. It's always weird with a purpose."