Scion

Toyota had a problem.  Even though it built the most reliable cars in the world, kids weren’t interested, they thought the brand was old and unhip.  Rather than trying to squeeze blood from a stone, trying to convince the public Jessica Simpson was Aretha Franklin, Toyota started with a blank piece of paper.  And created the Scion division.

With the xA and the xB.

The xB is the coolest car on the road.  Even cooler than a Mini Cooper.  Because it’s affordable.  Furthermore, it’s customizable.  Kids want to make things their own.  Just check out the lettering on their Crocs.  Many buyers return to the dealership once a month for accessories.

So what has Toyota done with this breakaway success?  CUT PRODUCTION!

Yes, the target was 150,000 vehicles a year.  They exceeded that by 25,000 in 2006.  And they realized, they were in danger of diluting the brand.  So they’re going back to their original number.  If you want a Scion, be one of the first 150,000, or you’re out of luck.

Rather than whoring out the brand, Scion is contemplating eliminating its TV advertising altogether.  Abandoning even their hip footprint on "Adult Swim" on the Cartoon Network.  After all, does anybody even WATCH commercials anymore?

And MySpace?  They’re abandoning it for secondlife.com.  Yes, the media boys might think Websites are forever, but the truly big boys know the elite move on, and the masses eventually follow them.  To sites like secondlife.com.  Where Scion plays now.  Aligning the brand with the cutting edge.

And there’s a new xB in the pipeline.  But rather than introduce it early, to get the public pumped up, they’re keeping the aura around the old model, they’re not going to reveal the new one til it’s ready.

You’ve got to take something left field.  Different.  Get a footprint.  And then manage your base.  You’ve got to STOP selling after a while, otherwise you alienate your core, the cool hipsters.

Introduce a single months before the album, to generate first week sales?  Well that seems stupid.  Because the record can only go down from there.  Rendering your act completely UNHIP.  And advertising something you can’t buy…  That doesn’t make ECONOMIC sense.

I’m fascinated by the "Toaster".  It looks too small for its shape.  It’s not ridiculously expensive.  It’s always customized with those tiny tires.  It looks like something out of a cartoon.

And the people who drive them.  In L.A. they’re the cutting edge ethnicities, the same people who fostered hip-hop.  This ain’t no Momobile.  No rich investment banker would buy one to protect his wife and kids.  Which is why Suburbans are uncool, and xB’s are SO cool.  They’re not for everybody.  But everybody can afford one.  It’s a choice everybody can make.  Can you take the risk?

And how fucking good are you going to feel if you OWN one.  Like a king.  Completely unlike the millionth sucker to purchase the album hammered on TV.

You know things are completely backward when car companies are cooler than record companies.

Music USED to drive the culture.  Ain’t that a laugh.

The usual suspects in the music business are GM.  Their market share is gonna tank and they’re going to be in financial straits soon.  Because they just didn’t plan for the future.

The PAST was about tonnage of crap.  But when was the last time a hip-hopper sold a million in one week?  Or a boy band TWO million.  Times changed, and all the labels can do is complain that it’s no longer 1999.

You’ve got to start with quality.  If an American car company sold the xB, sales would fail in a couple of years because of glitches/defects and the dealers’ inability to fix them.

Then you add a layer of cool ON TOP!

There’s nothing else like Scion in the marketplace.  They took a RISK!  Signing the next emo band, is THAT a risk?

Then you build a culture around the act.  Allow people to remix your tracks, like Trent Reznor did.  Get people INVOLVED!

Then you manage this relationship.  Don’t focus on the casual buyer, but only on those who are DEDICATED!  You want fans, not purchasers.  You want BELIEVERS, not me-toos.

The key is to get people forever.  8 of 10 Scion buyers go with Scion or Toyota for their next vehicle.  Shit, we can’t even get people to buy the next ALBUM!

Scion

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