While watching TV, I just came across the latest Toyota Scion television campaign "United by Individuality" and it strangely tied up several of the last week's conversations for me.
While at SpaceCamp and through over various other email exchanges / phone calls, I've engaged in several discussions about what makes virtual worlds like Gaia so popular... and their business models so effective. The answer is captured very well in Toyota's campaign, which screams, "individuality!"
If the fabric of the social web is about tying personalities and communities together - the essence of the community's individual's is through unique identity. Think about:
- how many ringtones are sold - how people purchase MySpace themes and formats (Wordpress as well) - how many virtual goods / gifts people purchase
These are all purchased to stand out and individualize oneself within the larger (often commoditized) community. And Toyota is doing something similar: selling sturdy but *relatively* inexpensive cars aimed at younger audiences... but making the car customizable enough that drivers can make their models stand out from the 1,000s of other cars (and purchase Toyota equipment in the process).