Scion Campaign Leverages Non-Conformity

Scion xD

Toyota's Scion division is reaching for a broader audience with its new campaign, "Brand Manifesto," whose central message is that Scion is the car brand for authentic non-conformists. The effort includes three TV spots, print, and out-of-home media, all to tout the three-car Scion lineup as the modus advectus for creative individualists.

The effort, epitomized by the campaign theme line, "Become one of us by becoming none of us," uses creative customized to each of the Scion vehicles meant to elaborate on their respective personae. For example, the xD 5-door sub-compact, posited as an aggressive "little deviant" to borrow from the car's original launch campaign, has a TV ad showing a trio of xD's exploding into steel fragments that form the headlines "Create a following by never following," and "Stand with us by standing out."



Ads for the xB car say "Be an icon, not an imitation," and "Be the original, not the copy." The xB is a boxy crossover-type vehicle in a segment that has become crowded with other box-hip vehicles like the Nissan Cube and Kia Soul. "Tear it up, don't rip it off," and "Always zag when others zig," apply to the tC coupe.

The effort also features two microsites. One site,, features a "speechifier" in which one can type in a phrase and create video versions of the message using a montage of video clips featuring celebrities and political icons like Barack Obama. Another microsite,, allows people to reveal 10 pixels per day on the site, which eventually reveals a $34,000 Scion. The person who reveals the last 10 pixels wins the car.

Print will run in urban niche magazines like Big Up, Big Shot and Metropop, and TV will run on channels like Adult Swim, BET, Comedy Central, FUEL TV, Fuse, G4, SiTV, MTV, MTV2 and Spike. Billboards for the campaign are running in 24 metro markets, including Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Chicago, Cincinnati, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Providence, San Diego, and Washington D.C.

Simon Needham, co-founder of Scion's AOR, Dentsu's Attik, says the effort is aimed at reaching a new audience of creative urban consumers who are heavy into social media. "We have tended to consistently communicate with the same audience for the last five years, but with this campaign the difference is we are communicating what Scion's about, to a new audience. So we are almost going back to square one," he says. "'Manifesto' is a summary of what Scion's about."

He says the idea behind the microsites is buzz generation through social media. So the campaign favors social media over banner ads to get people to visit the microsites and interact. "It's a great way to get people to act and also to get them to talk to friends."

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