Scion Goes Urban, Eschewing Big Reach Buys

  |  July 3, 2007   |  Comments

The Toyota brand seeks to build awareness among a niche Hip Hop audience on sites like, and

Scion doesn't invest much in interactive media, and what it does spend doesn't go to mainstream auto properties.

Instead, the Toyota brand seeks to build awareness among a niche group of mostly "urban" (read: Black and Latino) Hip Hop enthusiasts on sites like,, and

Many of these small-site ad placements, brokered by Scion's media planning agency Optimedia, have involved a combination of display ads and deeper creative integration. The goal in each case is to encourage creative involvement with the brand.

"The main idea of the over-arching campaign is to align the Scion brand with self-expression and customization," according to Kristen Ewing, a media planner for Optimedia, who added Toyota has deliberately avoided big reach buys available on sites like Yahoo Autos.

Scion has tended to focus its marketing efforts on guerilla tactics and other methods likely to increase buzz among an influential niche of urban trendsetters. It's minimized its TV spending in favor of cinema and out-of-home placements, for instance.

Blastro acted as a development partner on several of the campaign elements, representing media and building interactive elements on sites like and within video content from Automotive Rhythms. On July 1, introduced a car art gallery where site visitors can customize a Scion with racing decals and paint, then share their creations on or off the Web site. A more traditional integration with Web video content player Automotive Rhythms involves five-second "bumpers" baked into existing video content.

Meanwhile, on social network BlockSavvy, Scion is offering a gallery application called "savvy board" where users are invited to create drag-and-drop collages they can then post to their profiles or elsewhere on the Web. The interface is meant to be fun and chaotic, according to Blastro co-founder Ben Davis.

"Scion gave us a lot of latitude to create something that was empowering for the user," said Davis, who added Scion emphasized "Not strictly buying on reach and numbers, but buying on creativity and agility."

Separately, Scion last month introduced a cross-media effort for its new xD 5-door vehicle. A microsite at used "pop-up" design elements that mirrored the campaign's print ads. Scion creative and branding agency ATTIK developed that effort as well as an earlier virtual world at supporting the xB model. ATTIK also developed collateral material and had creative approval on Optimedia and Blastro's new work for the client.


Zachary Rodgers

Until March 2012, Zach Rodgers was managing editor of ClickZ's award-winning coverage of news and trends in digital marketing. He reported on the rise of web companies, data markets, ad technologies, and government Internet policy, among other subjects. 

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