If A Car Launches In Second Life, Will Anyone Notice It?

scion.jpgScion, a division of Toyota that sells “trendy” cars targeted at Gen Y in the United States, was one of the earliest companies touting its wares in Second Life.

In 2006, Scion became the first car maker with a Second Life presence, offering residents customizable versions of the Scion xB. Fast forward nearly 12 months and many of the great and much hyped corporate outposts in Second Life are closing up shop; Scion on the other hand is actually expanding their presence. The company has added additional islands (sims) to its Second Life HQ and the company has now officially launched the second gen Scion xD in world.

The Scion xD II launch party saw several hundred Second Life residents visit over a couple of hours. It was also the first opportunity for residents to view and utilize the expanded Scion Island.

So what’s so special about Scion’s Second Life presence that sees the company buck the trend?

In part it’s a branding statement. Second Life is (according to some) a hip and trendy place from which to target brand wary members of Generation Y; Scion in return trades on this perception in continuing to build a position statement for the Scion Brand. Also in fairness, whilst the viewer numbers are poor compared to a traditional advertising campaign, the costs of maintaining a presence in Second Life aren’t huge, if you ignore the fact that per viewer they are exceptionally high.

So does maintaining a presence in Second Life result in increasing brand exposure and car sales? I went undercover again to see whether I could find what the magic ingredient for Scion’s expanding presence in Second Life was: