• Apr 25, 2008
Thanks to Subaru's newest marketing campaign, we finally know what really makes a Subaru a Subaru. Love. Really? Allow Tim Mahoney, chief marketing officer for Subaru of America, to explain, "Love is the most powerful emotion and 'I love my Subaru' is the most used phrase I hear about our brand. We wanted to show the bond between Subaru owners and their cars through this work."

While it seems that current owners may love their cars, Subaru's research into the subject shows that the majority of the population have no strong feelings toward the brand at all. Past Subaru ads have communicated the rational reasons for purchasing a Subaru, but the marketing team now intends to key in on three specific subjects: the heart, the brain and the wallet, highlighting all of the considerations of a consumer looking for a new car. Will the new advertisements resonate with consumers? Dunno, but we do know that while we love ourselves some STI, there isn't much else that Subaru has to offer which make our hearts race.

[Source: Subaru]

Subaru of America, Inc. Unveils New Marketing Campaign

CHERRY HILL, N.J., April 24 /PRNewswire/ -- Subaru of America, Inc. today announced a new marketing campaign based on the strong emotional bond Subaru owners have with their vehicles. The campaign, developed by the company's brand agency, Carmichael Lynch, features print, TV and digital media components.

Two key research-based insights led to the campaign: the first was that while most consumers have heard of Subaru and believe it to be a good product, 60 percent have no strong emotional opinion or attachment to the brand. The second was that Subaru owners are known for their outspoken passion and love for the brand, and this applied across all models around the country.

The campaign squarely places the car and the consumer at the center of the advertising. John Colasanti, chief executive officer of Carmichael Lynch said, "Subaru owners are 'experience seekers' -- they want to live bigger, more engaged lives. They choose Subaru as a conscious alternative to the mainstream. To them, the car is the enabler of that bigger life."

By focusing on the love they have for their car, Subaru is challenging non-owners: do you love your car?

"Love is the most powerful emotion and "I love my Subaru" is the most used phrase I hear about our brand," says Tim Mahoney, chief marketing officer for Subaru of America, Inc. "We wanted to show the bond between Subaru owners and their cars through this work."

Kevin Mayer, director of marketing communications for Subaru of America, Inc., states, "In the past, a lot of work was done that spoke to the strong rational reasons for buying a Subaru -- now, we're adding a level of communication that focuses on the heart, or the emotional connection owners have with their Subaru."

The work is split into three tiers: The Heart, The Brain, and The Wallet, based upon the process of how consumers approach a new vehicle purchase. The Heart tier answers the question -- "Why could this brand be for me" and is not just about Subaru's durable, reliable and capable vehicles, it's also about the love people have for the brand and how it enables them to lives their lives.

Heart TV Spots
Welcome Party
Subaru owners are individualists and yearn for richer experiences. Welcome
Party tells the story of four brothers that travel in their Subaru Outback
to the eastern most point in the U.S., every year, in order to be the
first ones to welcome in the New Year. It's not an experience just anyone
or car could have, but it is one a Subaru makes possible.

Subaru Heaven
For Subaru owners their vehicle becomes a trusted friend. Rather then just
be sold off for scrap metal, Heaven shows how a Forester owner wants to
make sure his well-traveled Forester has a special final parking spot.
Followed by his friend in his new Forester, they make the journey to
Subaru Heaven; a final resting place (recycling and salvage yard) for
beloved old Subaru vehicles. Here the owner says goodbye to his old
Forester, and drives away in his newly-redesigned Forester as he starts
the next chapter of his life.

Priorities
Life is about making time for things that matter. A busy father caught up
with multitasking at home takes a step back from work life to notice his
son playing with a toy airplane and sees the opportunity to bond with his
son. A trip in their Subaru Tribeca takes them to an airfield where they
watch real airplanes flying overhead, giving his son a memorable
experience.

The Brain tier answers the question: "Why is this the right vehicle for me now?" This tier features specific models and shows the rational side of buying a car with the unique features and benefits that come with owning a Subaru.

Brain TV Spots
Not for Sale
Forester owners ... are Forester owners. A couple decides to buy the
newly-redesigned Forester and make room for it in their lives, and garage.
Rather than sell their old Forester, they decide to sell their boat and
keep both Foresters.

Wash Me
Outback owners search for adventure and escape the everyday. Wash Me shows
an Outback owner traveling to remote deserted areas: Forest -- Mt. Biking,
Beach -- Surfing, Desert -- Hiking. With his adventures has come dirt on
the Outback, which he showcases as badge of achievement. Each time the man
comes back to his vehicle there is no one around but the words "Wash Me"
have been written on the rear window. Puzzled, the man drives off. The
spot ends with a city shot of rain washing the dirt away; taking care of
the car as nature and man had intended.

The Fly Out
The Subaru Forester enables confidence and empowerment in questionable
conditions. A nature photographer travels to a remote, hard to reach, bird
refuge in her newly redesigned Forester to photograph Canadian Geese. The
seemly difficult trip over rough terrain is made easy with her newly-
redesigned Forester. As she is setting up for the perfect shot her camera
makes a noise startling hundreds of geese that fly away and leave a
"present" on the Forester. The woman doesn't get the perfect shot, but has
an experience that is even better.

Parking Meter
Impreza owners have an unspoken bond. A Subaru Impreza owner walking back
to his car on a city street notices an Impreza WRX STI is about to get a
ticket from a meter maid for an expired parking meter. Respecting the STI,
he aspires to own one some day, he plugs the absent STI owner's parking
meter before the meter maid can get to the Subaru vehicle and write the
ticket. Confused, the meter maid sees the man get into the other Impreza
and drive away.


The Wallet tier focuses on the financial and value aspects of buying a Subaru and allows for the inclusion of timely news and information and can be used for local dealer advertising.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 52 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      A really wet running boxer motor.

      And judging by most of the WRXs I see running around here, a way ECU reprogrammed, over-boosted, wet running boxer motor.

      Oh yeah - AWD too.

      -ted
      • 6 Years Ago
      Just setting up everyone for a rwd car,
      because then they will no longer be the awd company
        • 6 Years Ago
        As long as it's RWD, I'm ok. It's if they introduce a FWD car that I'm going to be upset.
      cher
      • 3 Years Ago
      I was at a local grocery store the other day and found myself parked next to the same color same year as my subaru. When the woman went to put her groceries in her car i told her she was driving my twin.She came over and told me she loved her subaru and I said I loved mine. She went on to say her subaru was the best car she's ever had and I agreed I felt the same way. It was a kind of bonding, an unusual experience. Its a great car.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I love my Subie - and yesterday, someone followed me to the grocery store to say that my car (05 Legacy GT wagon) was their absolute dream vehicle (Guess what? It's mine, too). So maybe SOA is on the right track with this marketing campaign.

      Now if they could only make a grill that didn't make me want to puke...
      • 6 Years Ago
      I suspect that most of the people who say they love their Subies aren't car people in the sense that AutoBloggers are. My wife loves her Subaru and she isn't a car person in the least. Most car manufacturers rely on more than gearheads for their sales base, so Subaru's new campaign makes sense to me.
        • 6 Years Ago
        For the most part you're probably right, just not about me ;) . I've always been a car fanatic. I just bought a used '05 Legacy GT and yes... I love it. I also have an '87 Buick T-Type (Grand National, basically) that I drive on nice weekends and at the strip. The Legacy is a sleek, quick, solid car with the ever important manual transmission that I need to have to feel complete. The gas mileage could be a bit better, but really 23 mpg isn't bad for an AWD, 250 hp car. I plan on keeping the thing for quite a while, and just might buy a used '08 or '09 LGT when it comes time to get rid of the current one.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Peter,

        I loved my first SVX, I loved my first Legacy GT, I loved my second SVX, my Outback VDC and I really love my Spec. B. (#350).

        In fact with the exception of a 1976 Alfa 2000 GTV and a BMW 325 ix, I have had no cars that I can say I loved more. Though there was that 1974 Volvo 145 when I was in highschool - you know - european answer to a van, but that was a different kind of love.

        What I love most about my Spec. B is that it eats sissy BMW's and unsuspecting "sports" cars all day long. When it snows, I go, when it rains, I go...and the only maintenance to date (43k miles) has been oil @ $39.00 per change.

        I expect I'll be loving an STi soon.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Have you read any of my previous posts???

        I've been blasted before for hyping my Legacy GT TOO much. I don't think there is such a thing as too much, though.

        Gotta go along with Richard here, though. My Legacy GT does so much, so well, and surprises almost everyone. Not perfect, but not overly expensive. Fast, but still stone reliable. A bat out of hell sometimes, but more capable in the snow than a lot of other vehicles.

        What is not to love? It even looks pretty darn good, which is unfortunately something I can't say that I like about some other Subarus.

        Pretty much the automotive antithesis of a careless appliance of a car.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I'm with you guys. Nothing but an STI makes your heart race? I used to autocross and rallycross my WRX...hard to do that with an idle pulse. Currently I'm in a Legacy GT...I've added some toys, but even stock it was a sick car...and my Tibetan Mastiff can still hang in the back seat. It's a sick car. So there are two other cars besides an STI that make your heart race...but fwiw, the tribeca is pretty bland.
      • 6 Years Ago
      What makes a Subaru a Subaru?

      A boxer engine & AWD.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I think in order to appeal to larger audience Subaru has diluted the Impreza/WRX. It is neither raw nor fully civilized.
      The base 2.5 Impreza feels really underpowered even the manual tranny. Interior materials are much better than before but still not comparable to the competition. Noise remains an issue more so on the WRX. Obviously Insurace will kill you on the WRX/STI. The biggest folly is of course the awfully bland exterior. The previous generation WRX was distinctive even though some found it ugly. The new gen Impreza WRX rides much better but is the Imprezas audience someone who is looking for a fast living room on wheels? Most probably no.

      The impreza could have been improved without diluting it this way.

      Subaru would be much better off to make the Legacy sedan appeal to more people, it is a good car but as others have said in their comments it is indeed treated as a step child.
      The base Legacy sedan is underpowered (same 170 hp as the Impreza) doesn't have enough comfort and convenience features as compared to Camcordimabu 4 cylinder variants, although it is much sportier than them. Subaru can play this sportier card while adding features for a wider range of consumers.
      Another issue is lack of proper marketing of the sedan, unavailability of traction/stability control on most models and unavailablity of the car itself, especially of the Legacy GT . It is very hard to find at dealers. Interestingly it competes with the WRX with Premium package but the Legacy sedans appeals to a more mature(older) consumer.
      Subaru needs a lot of work on both these cars if it wants to get more people to buy its car.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I haven't found my Legacy GT Wagon to really NEED stability control. If you were driving on ice most of the time you might need traction control, but there's a LOT of traction to be had, I have to intentionally break the tires loose to make it to anything squirrelly. I'm sure there are enough ham-fisted morons out there who can get themselves into trouble with any car, and "Stability Control" nannies are all the rage these days.

        Your point about the convenience features is VERY accurate though. It was one of the things I had second thoughts about in comparing the Legacy with Audis... but then I drove the LGT and didn't care about steering wheel volume controls, windows controlled with the door key and built-in bluetooth.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I have just purchased my second Subaru, 8 months. I purchased a Legacy sedan in September and have just traded that for a new Outback. Why? Where else can you get 4 wheel drive, a quality build, reliability, performance, a 4 cylinder flat 4 engine.. I could keep on going but wont. I have owned 2 nissans, 2 plymouth's, 2 dodges, a jeep, a chrysler, a mitshubishi, an Olds, 2 fords and 2 pontiac. Subaru however was the first brad that I have felt loyal to, probably because they have everything I have looked for. Nothing more, nothing less.
      I love my Subaru!
      • 6 Years Ago
      i am a gearhead and i loved my 1999 Subaru Legacy GT wagon. The only thing i did to it was a tighter suspension. It had great balance, good handling, great acceleration and torque (for a 4 cylinder).

      I traded it in a few years ago and i have missed that car every day since. I loved my Subaru.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Gggght!

      LOVE?!

      OK, who's been screwing with this thing?
      • 6 Years Ago
      Subarus are pretty cool, what is it with butches and subies? especially the legacy outback, and forester..
      Timothy Bowers
      • 2 Years Ago
      The guy writing the article should drive any Subaru through Berthoud Pass, Co in the driving snow. Then, any Subaru would make his heart race. I admit I have a WRX, but myself and every other Subie were passing every other Honda, BMW, Ford, awd, or 4-wheel drive with confidence and ease. No bare white knuckles for us. Yes, I have SUBARU LOVE!
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