Scion wants viewers to know that the new iA and iM are lovably weird, fun, and cool. To communicate those qualities, the brand uses the many-faceted James Franco to promote both, Jaleel White along with a wax museum Urkel to promote the iM, and a tube man to promote the iA. A tube man is the tall, inflatable, balloon man often seen dancing outside of car dealerships.
James Franco, a quirky Renaissance man, seems a good choice. The meaning of the celebrity endorsement is clear. The ad shows two sides of the star to illustrate the two Scion models though the two different sides of James Franco are more different than the two Scion models. The car models seem nearly identical. At the end of the ad, the two James Franco’s instantly change into each other’s clothes for no apparent reason except maybe to reinforce weirdness.
Jaleel White and a wax museum statue of his character, Urkel, ride together in the iM to illustrate the dual temperature controls and again to reinforce weirdness.
Strangely, the tube man ad is the most effective. Scion has to work to give vent to James Franco’s quirkiness and to make Jaleel White’s appearance weird. The tube man needs no help. The tube man is inherently lovably weird, fun, and cool. The tube man driving, waving out the window, gesturing toward dashboard features is funny, endearing, and memorable. Of course, the tube man works a lot cheaper than James Franco.
Tube man merits Two Steps Forward, but Franco and White only merit One Step Forward.