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Scion Rocks With Snow Patrol

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TORRANCE, CALIF. Attention aspiring Roger Deans and Frank Frazettas: Scion is sponsoring a contest in which the winner will have his or her artwork grace the sleeve of a limited edition single from the Scottish alt-rock band Snow Patrol.

The partnership is part of the Toyota-owned brand's effort to appeal to more of a mass market by teaming with rock music. In the past, Scion had embraced hip-hop to target its 18-29 demographic.

The regional competition begins Thursday and is hosted by Scion and Portland, Ore., radio station KNRK. The station will send an e-mail blast to its 70,000-member database and announce the competition on air and via its Web site. The five-piece band will pick the best design. The winner of the contest will also receive a 2008 Scion xB wrapped in the cover art.

With sales down almost 30 percent this year due to some model changeover, Scion is seeking a more mass appeal. A Toyota representative acknowledged Scion's reach into more traditional music is part of its strategy. "Scion is always reaching for new segments in that demographic, that Gen Y crowd," said spokesman Wade Hoyt. "It is always looking for something more."

Whether it's offering CD samplers of obscure artists or launching its own online radio network scion.com/broadband, the nameplate has been closely aligned with music since its debut in 2004.

Snow Patrol, meanwhile, has lent its music to commercial endeavors in the past. Its song, "Chasing Cars," was used in last year's season finale of Grey's Anatomy.

"As long as they pay us, it's pretty great," guitarist Nathan Connolly told the Houston Chronicle in April, when questioned about the commercial use of the band's song in the ABC show.

Scion spent $30 million on ads last year and $20 million through August, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.