Subaru proves its reliability with experts and emotion

The automaker breaks from its quirky norm, taking a sentimental approach to talking about its longevity and safety.
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Subaru’s vehicles go through life with Canadians, having the longevity to take drivers from marriage to family life while maintaining their value and safety.

That’s something the car brand is hoping to communicate more directly in its latest campaign, “Made to be a Subaru.”

In a series of three 15-second spots by Zulu Alpha Kilo, Subaru shows how its vehicles go through life’s progressions with Canadians, such as showing a newlywed couple in their white Subaru, which after they kiss transitions to a scene from the present day with their three kids in the back of their new blue Subaru SUV.

A second spot shows someone buying his first Subaru vehicle as a young man, which retained its value enough for him to sell it to another young man in the present day. In another, a father cheering on his young daughter as she pedals her tricycle toward him in their driveway, who is then protected by the vehicle’s eyesight driver assist when pulling out of the driveway as a teenager.

The campaign is something of a departure for the brand – it takes a more direct and sentimental approach to the performance of its vehicles, as opposed to more comedic illustrations, like putting its Outback vehicle up against a goat to determine which is the “greatest of all time” when traversing up and down mountains or spoofing pharma ads to show it is a cure for boredom. This year, however, it has also supplemented that with talking more explicity about safety features, something it is now backing up with expert insight.

“This campaign is intended to provide people with compelling reasons to put Subaru on their list of vehicles to consider,” Ted Lalka, Subaru’s senior VP of marketing and product management, said in a Monday press release. “We put so much effort into the quality, safety and durability of our products that we wanted people not to just take our word, but also to see what the industry experts have to say as well.”

The spots talk up things like its long-term Kelly Blue Book value, IIHS safety rankings and the fact that 96.7% of Subaru’s sold in the last 10 years are still on the road today.

In August, Subaru reported record sales in Canada, with 5,276 vehicles sold, up 11.5% year-over-year, with particularly strong sales for the Ascent, Forester and Outback models. However, like most automakers, it is still looking to make up for a heavy dip in new car sales at the outset of the pandemic, due both to dealerships being closed and economic uncertainty among Canadians. Despite also having a strong July, year-to-date sales remain down 22%.

This national campaign will run throughout the fall and into 2021. Zulu Alpha Kilo handled the creative, while OMD dealt with the media buy.