As much as I cringe when I hear the words "Do-It Yourself" used in conjunction with creating logos, Toyota's latest idea to promote its quirky Scion brand admittedly amounts to a semi-brilliant stroke of loyalty-inspiring product personalization.
DIY logo design? Not quite. As the NY Times story (published 3/24/08) describes, it's actually a marketing campaign with an underground vibe that is intended to show just how much their chosen transportation reflects their personality. With an eye to the social networking ethos that has made Facebook and MySpace wildly popular, Toyota will let Scion owners design their own personal "coat of arms" online, a piece of owner-generated art that is meant to reflect their job, hobbies or whatever else happens to blow their hair back.
I guess this is the Generation Y version of sidepipes, mudflaps and the other stuff old-timers like me used to customize our cars with. Now that the cars - even the cheap ones like the Scion - are too complex for their owners to do much mechanical work themselves, going to a Web site and designing a personalized accessory is just the ticket.
You can check it out at scionspeak.com. But if you think Toyota is doing this just as a merchandising gimmick, think again. They want to make a few bucks. The design Web site, scionspeak.com, is free, but Scion enthusiasts must pay for the auto shop renderings of their design, an indulgence that can cost thousands of dollars. Remember, Toyota can't be making much of a profit on the cars.
Give me a good pinstriper any day.