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      06-14-2006, 08:30 PM   #1
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Pssst-Hey, Kid, You Want To Buy A Toyota Scion?

Whyville, an interactive online community, allows members, ages 8 to 15, to "buy" a Toyota Scion to drive around their virtual universe.

Hey, Kid, You Want to Buy a Toyota Scion?

Published: June 14, 2006 NYTimes

IN April, Toyota quietly began an unusual virtual promotion of its small, boxy Scion: it paid for the car's product placement in, an online interactive community populated almost entirely by 8- to 15-year-olds.

Never mind that they cannot actually buy the car. Toyota is counting on Whyvillians to do two things influence their parents' car purchases and maybe grow up with some Toyota brand loyalty.

It may appear counterintuitive, but Toyota says the promotion is working. Ten days into the campaign, visitors to the site had used the word "Scion" in online chats more than 78,000 times; hundreds of virtual Scions were purchased, using "clams," the currency of Whyville; and the community meeting place "Club Scion" was visited 33,741 times. These online Scion owners customized their cars, drove around the virtual Whyville and picked up their Scion-less friends for a ride.

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