SCION AT IT AGAIN

All astute experiential marketers have been pointing to the success of the Scion brand when describing experiential marketing methodologies. Here’s a car company that launched three models without a single mass advertisement a few years back. Since then, the car brand aimed at the youth demo has been putting the pedal to the metal when it comes to innovative, grassroots-based and long-tail inspired marketing campaigns.

So it’s no suprise to read this report from MediaPost, describing the latest salvo from Scion — namely, a campaign called Scion Dashboard.

The campaign centers around a traveling exhibition of well-known underground artists and DJs, who use a Scion gallery space to create and showcase works inspired by the Scion lifestyle brand. The gallery welcomes people from the street, who are encouraged to create their own works of art, which is then printed out on a t-shirt for them to take home (cool consumer generated media, eh?).

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But this isn’t the most interesting part of the story. That comes from the description of the campaign from an unnamed exec at the company:

“The guy we are chasing is very suspicious of traditional media executions and things like that. They don’t want to be talked to . They want to find out these things for themselves,” says an executive familiar with the effort, which will be officially announced by Toyota today.

That’s very much in keeping with the Scion brand, a car line that was created to appeal to skeptical young men who eschew marketing pitches, but want to discover, immerse and customize their own brands around their individual lifestyles.

“We just want them to come in and say, ‘Wow, this stuff is cool.’ We want to be known as the cool brand,” says the insider, adding that the effort will not be benchmarked against traditional media metrics, such as post-buys, audience impressions, or even a CPM.

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“We really are not like a packaged goods company where we need to see the CPM on everything we do. A lot of it is feel or gut. If we have an idea we think the public will take to, we don’t get too hung up on the CPM,” said the executive, noting this is increasingly true of the automotive category, which is willing to take risks with new forms of media that cannot be calculated based on conventional media value.

You read that?! No CPM! No impressions! No post-buys! Awesome! Finally, someone is getting the Return on Experience is just as fundamental to a branded campaign as is Return on Investment. Lovely.

The first gallery is in San Francisco. At the end of the 30-day San Francisco run, the experience will shut down and set up in another city, in an abandoned storefront, an empty garage, or some other underground venue in a fashionably cool neighborhood — giving even more credence to the practice of pop-up stores and marketing.

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