As in earlier campaigns for Scion vehicles, the Toyota division is avoiding mass media marketing, and opting for guerrilla, in-cinema, wild postings and the like, aimed at younger consumers.
"Little Deviants," the new campaign from ATTIK, reinforces Scion's business model around personalization and after-market customization, while positioning the car as a Neo-like saviour in a drab, Soviet-bloc world of buildings and streets where factotums wander around with brushes painting everything grey.
In the campaign, xD is a kind of automotive anarchist, running about with a cohort of gremlin-esque deviants, attacking the battleship-grey world of "Sheeple."
In-cinema ads began this month in key cities, aimed at driving traffic to the web site www.LittleDeviant.com, which launched in mid-June. The Web site presents a gothic digital novel/video game, "Book of Deviants," that opens to reveal a pop-up world mirrored in 3-panel print ads in selected July magazines.
The Web site tells a story in seven chapters with titles like "Rise of the Deviants," "Take Down," and "Slaughter Park," in which the deviants take back the city from the Sheeple.
One section lets visitors, toss, swipe and otherwise rid the virtual city of Sheeple, slowly bringing color back to the urban landscape in the process.
Needham, co-founder of ATTIK and creative director at the agency's San Francisco shop, said the campaign for xD is also intended to differentiate the car from the growing list of competitive sub-compacts, which might include Toyota's own Yaris, positioned as edgy, urban, and hip to reach younger buyers.
"The overriding brand proposition is still customization and personalization, but at the same time we have to identify it for that car and image. I was clear everyone was going down a similar route, so we wanted to differentiate the car," he says. In the ads, the car only "comes out" at night.
"Being a little deviant, it contradicts everyone else's proposition," he says.
The new xD effort is also different from ATTIK's prior work for the recently launched 2008 xB, for which the agency centered marketing efforts on www.Want2BSquare.com, a Web site that featured an assortment of virtual worlds, but few images of the car.
"We almost feel that even though Scion is a single brand, you can still break down its young audience into different genres. In relation to xB, it's an artistic creative audience who enjoy a sense of discovery and level of entertainment and creativity. And it wasn't a new model. It wasn't like we were having to work hard to establish an identity," he says.
Other elements include a banner campaign and guerrilla activities to begin early July with street teams handing out custom-published Deviant comic books, die-cut hanging Deviant characters, wild postings, missing Sheeple posters and other branded merchandise.