Scion Heats Up With Limited Edition xD

NEW YORK Scion will produce only 2,000 units of the xD RS 1.0. But the automaker is not thinking small when it comes to marketing the limited edition car, with a new campaign launching this week and costumed street teams hitting major U.S. cities to distribute handouts.

As part of the campaign called “Hot lava” — via Attik, San Francisco — portable billboards that emit smoke and show a bright orange Scion xD RS 1.0 (the color of flowing lava) will be hauled for the next week through the streets of Los Angeles, Atlanta and Kansas City, Mo. Meanwhile, street teams, clad in silver fireproof outfits, will be distributing lava-themed handouts. Over the next several weeks, the street teams and the billboards will expand to 12 major U.S. cities.

Other elements of the campaign include Web site banner ads and newspaper ads customizable by dealers, which will drive consumers to a microsite, The banner ads will run on various entertainment, music, social networking, urban, art, fashion, cultural and auto-enthusiast sites.

The interactive microsite features the limited edition xD surrounded by lava and manhole covers that visitors can click on to reveal the car’s features. Zenithmedia, New York, handles media strategy and placement.

“Release Series vehicles give us the unique opportunity to communicate what our brand is about but with a twist,” said Jack Hollis, Scion vp, in a statement. “The smoking mobile billboards and street teams wearing the protective heat gear will engage consumers and bring additional awareness of the Scion brand and excitement to the xD RS 1.0’s distinctiveness.”

Sales for Scion were up 11 percent through May, per Autodata, Woodcliff Lake, N.J. Scion last year spent $30 million on advertising, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus. Through April, the Toyota-owned brand spent $7 million on ads.