Toyota Bows Web/Mobile Gaming Campaign for Scion

Toyota Motor Sales’ youth-oriented Scion brand has rolled out an interactive promotion that combines online gaming with a mobile element to raise awareness of the new tC sports coupe.

The effort takes the theme of long distance car travel, encouraging players to virtually visit other states and locales. Called “Scion Road Trip,” the promo runs until August 15 and echoes a similar “ScionSpy” campaign the carmaker launched last year to promote the xA and xB vehicles.

Several weekly contests over two months allow “drivers” to accrue virtual miles by creating and sending e-cards to their friends across the country and, by doing so, adding destinations to their road trip. Along the way, players’ friends — presumably also in the “Generation Y” target market — are exposed to the new vehicle. Virtual miles, which are earned when players get responses to the e-cards they send, will be tallied in a point system to determine winners at the end of each contest.

The “road trip” metaphor is especially appropriate given that this is the first time Scion has rolled out a product across the country all at once. The company began marketing its vehicles in California in June of 2003, then began expanding distribution of the xA hatchback and the boxy xB SUV in February. Now the tC, described as a “sports coupe,” joins them in nationwide distribution.

Oasis Advertising, Scion’s interactive agency, created the promotional game in conjunction with Sennari Games and Mobile Way, which provided a text messaging component. SMS is being used to alert players of their accrued virtual miles and weekly contest events. Additionally, Nerve Creative developed a Web site with a tC customization feature.

“Our goal is to continually push the envelope with innovative programs using cutting-edge technology in compelling ways,” said Ruby Fiorito, director of interactive marketing for Oasis.

Scion has experimented broadly with new interactive technologies. When Viewpoint recently launched a search toolbar with a special graphic preview, Scion partnered with the company to roll out a branded version of the downloadable app.

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