Scion Skews Young With Webisodes

NEW YORK Scion, the young-skewing car brand from Toyota, is launching a series of Webisodes to promote its racing team.

The eight Webisodes follow members of the Scion racing team and will be put on the site in mid to late February. Currently a teaser video is up on scion.com/broadband.

“There is an ongoing relationship in the world of racing,” said Lisa Materazzo, national marketing and communications manager for Scion at Toyota Motor Sales. “It fits very well with our target audience. We have a fairly large amount of the tuner crowd [enthusiasts who customize their cars with aftermarket parts] and this fits with our personalization theme. These are young buyers who skew male, who tend to want to appear different and make a statement with everything they do.”

Other car brands such as Ford and Honda have put short films up on their sites. Scion is notable for its early and aggressive embrace of Internet marketing and limited television advertising.

“Advertisements aren’t relevant to our audience,” said Materazzo. “The Webisodes are there to communicate with them. They’re not really there to sell them on our brand. If they’re there [on the Scion Web site], they already know about us.” To that end, there will be no print, television or out-of-home media driving traffic to the site.

Toyota’s Scion had a measured media spend of $30 million last year, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

Danny Prussmann, co-owner of Baked Goods Productions, directed and edited the Webisodes. “The objective was to put together a series of aggressive MTV-style videos, rather than advertisements, in order to get the people watching,” he said.

As young people gravitate away from TV towards the Internet, video game and cell phone advertisers are increasingly trying to find new ways to reach them.

“I think the real growth for this kind of content is not television but other narrowcasting models like cell phones,” said Gary Rivera, president and CEO of Creativdesign, which worked on the project. “You don’t have to create something that appeals to millions and millions of people.”