Don’t Go Back To Whyville

According to the New York Times, Toyota is working to bring children into the franchise, despite the fact that children can’t drive.

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.
Whyville was founded in 1999 as an educational online community and now reaches an audience of 1.6 million, who create their own personas within the site and interact with other visitors.

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. hey whyville is so cool i think its a good place to go for kids. i never been to myspace so its better then that.

  2. I go to whyville everyday and i love it! My name is Appies on the site. It’s not like having a Scion on line really is gonna make you buy one in real life. No one cares about so whatever! I love whyville and its really coool! well i dont know why you hate it so much? arae you saying that anyway? My parents dont care and you dont have to say Don’t Go back to Whyville you will get brain wahed oooooo!!!!! Scions are cool but i would never buy them in real life! I’m only 13!!!! i have three years left and i dont want one like I said before stop hating on whyville!

  3. Cheri,
    Go back to Whyville all you want. I don’t care. I was just playing around with the headline and tapping into my old guy reservoir of musical knowledge.
    Have you ever heard of R.E.M.? They’re pretty good.

  4. blowpop84 says:

    how do u get enough clams to buy a scion????