Scion Turns to WDCW to Boost Regional Marketing

Shop's first campaign will break in the spring

Toyota's Scion has hired the Los Angeles office of WDCW to boost the brand's regional marketing efforts.

The move comes after a review that began last fall and was led by procurement executives at Scion. Dentsu's Attik in San Francisco remains Scion's lead agency in the U.S.

WDCW's efforts, supported by the agency's Seattle office, will focus on developing the brand's regional marketing across the U.S., initially via digital mediums, with radio expected to follow. While Attik has created some regional ads for Scion in the past, the latest assignment is aimed at creating a larger, dedicated regional marketing program.

The agency is developing a campaign for all of the brand's five models that will break in the spring, said WDCW executive creative director Court Crandall.

The agency has experience in the auto category, having contributed, via Team Detroit, to Ford's "Go Further" campaign last year. In 2004, the shop handled a project for Toyota, and in the 1990s, it created regional ads for Daewoo.

Scion dealers and dealer associations spent a collective $1 million in media on Internet display ads and about $1 million on radio ads in 2011, according to Kantar Media. The vast majority of that money was spent by local dealers, as opposed to dealer associations, which spent less than $250,000 on both mediums combined.

More broadly, Scion itself has in the past year ramped up its ad spend in a bid to reinvigorate its brand in the U.S. The manufacturer spent some $54 million across media in the first three quarters of 2012 compared to just $19 million in the same period of 2011, according to Kantar. Full-year numbers for 2012 are not yet available. Of the $27 million the brand spent in 2011, about $6 million went to online and radio.

Scion's U.S. sales grew 49 percent last year to a total of 73,500 units. That growth was driven primarily by huge spikes in sales of FR-S—the brand's newer, sleeker and more-expensive model, first available in 2012—as well as its iQ, which was introduced in 2011. The new models are part of the brand's efforts to mature from its initial positioning as an offbeat youth brand, and instead pursue a slightly older crop of millenials in an attempt to shake a four-year sales slump. The brand, first sold nationally in 2004, saw its highest annual sales—173,000—in 2006, before dropping to 46,000 in 2010. 

“WDCW is a great fit for upcoming campaigns because they understand Scion’s brand proposition and how to reach our target demographic,” said Scion corporate manager Jaycie Dane. “Managing our digital marketing, regional and dealer advertising requires not only a high caliber of creative and digital savvy but also an implicit understanding of the fast moving retail nature of the automotive business.”