Yo, check it out: Zeus is starring in what might be called "Lifestyles of the Immortal and Famous." The king of gods is back to show off his houses, his gods and goddesses and his cars. And if the latter are all customized Scion xD and xBs, that's because the hirsute king of Olympus is again spokes-toga for the Toyota Motor division in a digital and TV ad campaign for the brand's Release Series vehicles.
This is actually the first year in which Scion has created a major campaign for the limited-edition Release Series cars, which typically comprise a run of between 500 and 2,200 units. Phase one of the campaign was this summer, when Zeus was introduced as a toga-wearing Belushi-esque party animal who can't quite figure out the modern world, its appliances, mores and women.
In this second phase of the campaign -- the first touted the Release Series tC car -- the focus is on the xD and xB models, with Zeus showing us both his rides and his cradles, (Zeus malapropism for "crib.")
As in the summer campaign, there is a raft of humorous viral videos via San Francisco-based Attik, Scion's AOR since the brand's inception. There is one 30-second TV spot, which will run on channels like Adult Swim, Fuse, Fuel, and Comedy Central, and a pair of long-form videos in which Zeus walks us through his "cradle" where we see his gothic tastes, portraits of his father Cronos (inventor of the open-faced sandwich), and his brothers Hades ("he's very open-minded") and Poseidon. In the kitchen, a slave -- chained to his butcher block counter -- is making him a sandwich.
There are also several videos in his car park, where he walks viewers around the Release Series xB and xD, touting the Hot Lava paint scheme for xB, Blizzard Pearl xD, suede interiors, and Scion grill emblem that can light up. The TV spot, which was shot at what was once comedian Don Rickles' mansion in the Valley, also focuses on the cars. All of the video content is at www.scion.com/releaseseries.
Owen Peacock, Scion's national marketing communications director, says the campaign serves as a de facto experiment for Scion and Toyota's other brands and that the summer campaign brought some good insights on digital strategy. He says, for example, that there was a surprisingly large contingent of consumers watching :15 versions of the videos on mobile devices. "It's amazing to see how quickly mobile is becoming a platform for this," he says.
Another takeaway: when it comes to YouTube, it's better to go long with fewer executions than to stack up six or seven shorter videos. The summer effort comprised six shorter vignettes, while the new effort centers on two three-minute "MTV Crib" style videos called "Cradles" and two 45-second walk-arounds of Zeus' cars. All of the videos will again be on Scion's YouTube channel.
"On YouTube you can monitor when people are 'falling off,' when they are rewinding and watching again. It's tough to have them watch six short vignettes; after the third is when they check out. But you can produce the same content and compress it into two episodes and they will engage longer. And there are things you wouldn't think were important that make a big difference: when we posted them on Facebook we learned if we didn't change the thumbnails for each video, people don't know its new content."
Peacock says the initial summer campaign has garnered 400 million impressions and 850,000 cumulative views, and Facebook follows went up 16%. But the more salient point may be that in the first two weeks of the campaign -- in June, before Scion began supporting the videos with a TV ad or other communications directing consumers to YouTube -- the company got 86,000. "It's a cascade effect. People read about it, watched them, and passed them on, so for us it was a great experiment to see what happens if we get the right people to talk about it. Once the broadcast kicked in, we saw a rapid increase in impressions and views, but that initial thing was amazing."
The company will make about 800 of the special-edition xD cars and 1,500 of the xBs. As for introducing other Olympian gods into future iterations of the campaign, Peacock says that's not likely, since the campaign is about the cars, not ancient Greek theology. "It's tempting but you can't jump the shark; you can't over play it."