Scion Gives In, Starts Marketing To "Oldies"

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

Having overplayed the youth marketing angle, only to find its cars being bought by folks well outside its “target demographic,” Scion seems to be making the first hesitant steps towards accepting reality. Autoobserver’s Dale Buss reports:

The economic woes of America’s twenty-somethings have forced Scion to broaden its demographic target to include the rest of the Millennial generation, up to age 35. “It’s a function of affordability and the state of economics for 18- to 24-year-olds, with high unemployment,” said Owen Peacock, national marketing communications manager for Scion. “They’re focused on things like college and debt load. At the end of the day, do you go with a small target or go after those who can actually buy a car now? So you need to adjust.”

But how is the “Zeus”-themed online marketing campaign actually supposed to expand Scion’s appeal to an older demographic?

Buss notes

Perhaps part of the thinking was that older Millennials may have been fortunate enough actually to learn about Greek mythology in a U.S. education system that has been getting away from teaching classicism…

Perhaps surprisingly, never before had Scion plunged into a pitch based as much on humor as the Zeus campaign, Peacock said. Yet part of the reason it has done so now is social media. “As you look at sharing and ‘liking’ content, people do that more often with humorous than with ‘cool’ content,” he said. “We figured this could serve about 10 different masters. There’s more shareability potential than before”…

Peacock said there’s a reason tC itself is a relatively shadowy presence in the online-only videos. “Let’s say someone initially wasn’t attracted to tC, but because of the campaign exposure, it would give them more of a tendency to investigate and discover tC,” he said. “We’re trying to attract the kind of person who looks at comedy web sites. That hits a broader range of people than just a car advertisement.”

Oh dear. What at first seemed like a step in the right direction now just seems like more flailing. Someone needs to either teach Scion to market to young people in a way that appeals to the people who are actually buying Scions as well, or Toyota needs to stop faffing around, roll Scion’s products into its own brand and start convincing people that Toyotas don’t have to be boring. Especially now that Scion’s about to get the most promising new products its had for ages, the FR-S RWD sportscar and the iQ city car.

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  • Shaker Shaker on Jul 16, 2011

    For some reason (that would escape everyone) when I saw this ad, I thought of the old SNL skit with Bill Murray playing an elderly Hercules... maybe the ad should have shown him loading "a smaller stone" into the hatch of the tC. The tC was originally a "special" little car, but the update (though it has many improvements) is more anonymous. What Scion relies on is that the "utes" who buy it add a crapload of overpriced dealer items to personalize the car; but that can get very expensive, very quickly. I'm willing to bet that "kids" (and their parents) have stepped into a dealer (attracted by the low base price) only to walk out when a "personality" cost 2-3k more.

  • Pig_Iron Pig_Iron on Jul 16, 2011

    If Zeus had a crown, he'd look like Burger King.

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