When I cleared last weekend for minicomics weekend, I wasn’t counting on getting sick, and did not clear the first part of the week to match. There should be more Little Maudie tomorrow, but until then, back to the Auto Show.
The best part of the Auto Show used to be the swag. You could easily come back with a nifty cloth bag with the name of your favorite car company on it, stuffed full of high quality junk: rulers, key chains, pencils, ball point pens, magnets, pocket games and toy cars of all kinds, as well as booklets and posters and CDs and the swag bags themselves. Swag bags are still in evidence, and usually take the form of reusable shopping bags, which is nice if you don’t already have six of them in the trunk of every car you own plus a spare dozen on top of the refrigerator. But the swag itself has been is sadly lacking since the last recession and is only now starting to reappear.
Toyota’s Scion division has always been swaggish, handing out big fat magazines full of pictures of pretty hipsters and CDs full of weird music. But this year they outdid themselves with a bank of dedicated Scion Swag Machines! You could activate the Swag Machine via the internet, using Instagram or one of several other social media outlets, or by giving a name to the Swag Machine Lady, who would put it into her official Swag Machine Lady iPad. The you’d hang around the Swag Machine waiting for it to say hi to you, by name!, and give you a cool prize. This was quite excellent, particularly, if you (like me) were not born yesterday, and knew enough to feel around inside the machine for any prizes other people hadn’t picked up. That’s how I got this not just this very nifty toy Scion FR-S sports car, otherwise known as the US version of the Toyota GT 86, which in turn is the Toyota half of the Toyobaru twin car project, but also a very, very cheap set of earbuds. Great swag! Great chibi Toyobaru!