Scion’s New Marketing Model: Selling Music, Not Cars

I doubt you’ve ever seen a TV commercial for Toyota’s youth brand, Scion. That’s because they’ve never really advertised, at least not in the traditional way. YouTube, yes, but not primetime corporate stuff. In fact, when Scion launched 8 years ago, a primary marketing medium was live events–raves, urban art shows, extreme sporting events. And not just sponsoring them…rather, something even simpler: simply leaving the car in the middle of the venue and allowing young folks to discover the car.

Another thing Scion has always been involved in is music, sponsoring and backing indie bands. But it’s been an on-again-off-again affair. Until now. Scion recently announced that they’re going to effectively become an indie label. The project is called Scion A/V.

It’ll work. Not only do Gen Yers hate ads or anything pushed on them, they love their Scion, even though sales aren’t gangbusters like they were a few years ago (A down economy and a certain tsunami have something to do with that). Not too long ago here in LA-LA land a Saturday afternoon found a crowd of grindcore music lovers lined up outside the Roxy to get T-shirts…not of the Roxy or Repulsion, the band playing there, but (drumroll) Scion xB. You know the one…looks like a toaster?

The strategy is in the hands of Jeri Yoshizu, Scion’s national sales promotion manager and the only member of the current Scion team who was there at the start in 2003, says that the whole idea is “to build good will through many small actions rather than a few large ones.”

The event at the Roxy only cost Scion about $10,000. It’s a great example of trying achieve the maximum effect through the minimum means.