Agency Head Says Scion Not Interested in Your E-mail Address

Scion is taking some cues from Warner Brothers and its 2008 Dark Knight campaign for the online portion of its latest marketing push — but only some.

Toyota’s youth-oriented brand has launched a site called ScionReveal.com, where consumers hand over their e-mail address to remove a single pixel from a full-screen image, eventually revealing a $34,000 customized Scion that the company will give to the person who removes the last pixel. Simon Needham, co-founder and creative director at Attik, Scion’s creative agency, said the site was inspired by the Warner Brothers site that used the same concept to reveal the first public photos of Heath Ledger as The Joker.

One difference: Scion has no plans to use the captured e-mail address for any kind of marketing outreach.

“Scion has a very understated approach to its marketing and is really self-conscious about not abusing people’s contact information,” Needham said. “They don’t want people thinking they’re being invasive into their private life.”

While neither scion nor Needham would definitely rule out using the collected addresses for direct marketing purposes, needham said it was not part of the original marketing plan and couldn’t foresee it becoming so, as it would be “out of character” for Scion. 

While some might suggest that a company with no interest in direct marketing setting up a site to collect e-mail addresses is like trick or treating with a diabetic, Needham suggested that it is simply consistent with Scion’s soft-sell approach, which is evident throughout the campaign.

The companion site to ScionReveal, BecomeNoneOfUs.com, contains 2,000 video clips, each one of a different person speaking one of the 2,000 most common words in the English language. Users can enter any sentence, and the “Speechifier,” as Scion calls it, will string together the appropriate clips to form the sentence, which users can then e-mail to friends (again, by sharing their e-mail addresses).

The idea behind each site is that “Scion is enabling people to customize” their experience, and of course, their Scions, Needham said.

“To be honest, it’s just a nice way of encouraging people to come and talk about Scion,” he added.

The campaign, which supports the xD, xB and tC models, also consists of TV and print work, though there will be little to no cross-platform promotion. Scion is instead driving traffic to the sites by seeding messages on Facebook and Twitter. “We’re using a lot of social media to try and keep it as cost-effective from a media standpoint as possible.” Needham said.

Needham estimated that Scion would end up with at least 100,000 e-mail addresses when the campaign is over (there are 1 million pixels to be erased on ScionReveal.com, though each person can enter an unlimited number of times), and that most people entering those addresses would probably expect to be contacted. But he speculated that consumers wary of being marketed to would appreciate being left alone, which would ultimately benefit Scion more.

“Honestly, if I were to go this site and enter my e-mail, I would expect to be contacted,” he said. “But just because we expect it doesn’t mean we appreciate it.”

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