Amid a significant slide in automotive advertising, Toyota's Scion brand is launching a new ad campaign that will increase its visibility in traditional media such as television and print. It's a subtle shift for a brand that's known for using underground marketing tactics such as street teams and wild postings to promote its cars rather than television campaigns.
Scion won't divulge how much it is spending on the campaign. But it has bought time on late-night cable television, running spots on Comedy Central, MTV, Spike, Fuel, Fuse and BET; and pages in magazines such as Revolver, Death + Taxes and Juxtapoz; and will launch a 60-second version of the television ads in cinemas starting this month. The campaign, which once again features Scions tricked out by real consumers, began in early January and will run for the next two to three quarters.
"Our goal is to continue building our brand," says Nancy Inouye, Scion's advertising and media manager, in response to why Scion is ramping-up advertising instead of hunkering down as many competitors are doing. "We are a lifestyle brand and that makes us different," she says. "Our consumer base is used to having fresh content on a regular basis."
Ironically, that content may have a better chance of breaking through with consumers on television than on non-traditional media such as online, says Simon Needham, cofounder and creative director at ATTIK, which created the ads for Scion. Even as many auto advertisers have shifted their budgets to more online advertising, Needham says there's a big question over what the return is for an investment online, especially the use of brand-specific microsites.
"A few years ago, we would have half a million hits on those sites; now we are down to 50,000," he says. "The Internet is a busy place, and so television might be the place to break through, because the Web is so messy and busy."