Monday, February 02, 2004

From the street?

While out in The City on Friday night we ran into an interesting street marketing campaign. Marketing campaign on a Friday night clubbing excursion, you say? Well, if you haven't heard of it yet, Scion (a new car brand created by Toyota) is running a campaign which targets young urbanites (for lack of a better term). When this campaign first start I wasn't feeling it at all. I mean who's gonna go for a bland car that seriously lacks any horsepower? The campaign came on the heels of the Nissan Altima & vaious Mitsubishi campaigns aiming to please the same crowd. There are some interesting options for the Scion cars like light kits and sub-woofers that are usually the fare of after-market, souped up cars. Bascially, these car companies have tried to appeal to urbanites by connecting their cars to the "real-ness" of "the street". Hmm...

In any case, I've found some interesting ideas with the Scion campaign (the Altima & Mitsu campains may have a good track or two on their TV ads, but there's nothing else unusual about them). Not that I've been roped in and want to buy one of these ugly cars, but I've found the ideas more off-the-wall than most car campaigns and I can really see where they're coming from and the methodical approach they're taking to find appeal. The idea of appealing to club-kids would have never been on the radar to car makers just five years ago, and here Toyota (via Scion) is directly courting young urbanites. If the website doesn't angle towards this market (check out the articles on Kanye West and other "street" artists), then the club-night promotions leave you without a doubt. Rather than just handing out flyers and such, CDs and mints were being passed around in hopes of creating lasting interest. Makes sense. You always need mints, especially if you're gonna be drinking and/or smoking. But, while CD compilations can be interesting, most are too bland and boring to making it through more than one play in the car. Apparently, previous volumes of Scion's marketing CDs were just compilations like this. But now Scion has taken a novel approach to the CD compilation marketing thing.

Instead of just hiring a producer to pick a dozen tracks and slap them on a CD, Scion held DJ competitions and awarded a DJ crew the reins on their own Scion CD volume. Out of the 263 competitors, the Backyard Bangers came out on top and have since put together a smokin mix CD of a wide variety of underground hip-hop. I'm not the type to listen to the same CD several times in a day, but I've already run this thing through the spin cycle a few times and I'm liking it more and more each time. Give the tracks a listen online. And if you find any Scion folks running around club spots on a Friday night, pick up the CDs they're handing out. The cars may be wierd and unappealing, but the CDs are definitely worth it. Does this make Scion more Street? Doubt it.

But hey, I wrote about them didn't I?

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