Buy This Car Because It's Ugly
Scion's peculiar new ad campaign.
Consider the Honda Element, another modestly priced, boxy wagon. Honda designed the car with young people in mind, labeling it a "dorm room on wheels," but when the Element hit showrooms the average age of its buyers turned out to be 41. Likewise, the xB—with its generous cabin space, solid engineering, and low sticker price—might, in time, find a fan base among practical-minded car buyers of all ages. Unless Scion succeeds in stiff-arming everyone but the youngsters.
Grade: C. Setting aside the ad's effectiveness as a sales tool, I didn't find the execution of the spot all that artful. I wasn't gripped by suspense, wondering whether or not the wrecking ball would hit a car. I didn't find the cinematography or art direction especially compelling. It was low-grade horror—a neutered version of an R-rated frightfest. If Scion insists on aiming its pitch at young dudes (who are the only people watching the late-night programs these ads are aired against), they'd better make ads that will grab young dudes' attention and hold them riveted to the screen. I just can't see this spot achieving that.
Seth Stevenson is a frequent contributor to Slate. He is the author of Grounded: A Down to Earth Journey Around the World.
Image from Scion ad by Attik. Photograph of car on Slate's home page by Scott Olson/Getty Images.