In my book, I mention Scion as an ideal case study of how a major company can eschew traditional mass marketing altogether to launch a brand — in this case, a youth-focused car mark from parent Toyota. By going underground and grassroots — with wholly experiential marketing platforms — Scion was able to sell 99,000 cars without a single print or TV ad.
No bad, eh? The folks at Scion realized from the onset that teens and young adults (their primary target) don’t want ads directed at them. They want experiences.
It’s good to see the company holding true to its roots, as evident by this article:
As part of a marketing strategy to keep its youth-focused Scion cool, Toyota plans to throttle back production to keep sales from going above 150,000 vehicles next year. It is on track to exceed that amount by 25,000 cars in 2006. One analyst says it could sell as many as 250,000 vehicles a year if production controls were lifted.
For Toyota, Scion’s importance isn’t so much added volume as it is bridging the gap to younger buyers, who consider the company’s mainline Toyota brand vehicles too stodgy. About 80% of people who buy a Scion have never had a Toyota.
Scion may abandon its already limited TV advertising altogether, so it can focus more on experiential marketing. It is so concerned about being up to the moment that it has moved its online social-networking marketing focus from MySpace.com to secondlife.com, viewing the News Corp. property as too mainstream.
Wait a minute! A car company wants to cut back production? Yes, that’s right. Toyota has realized that the old rules of marketing and production do not apply to their younger audience. And so it is taking the appropriate steps to build a brand the way their consumers want it, not how the board and agency does. Kudos to Scion and Toyota. They get the future.