Carmichael Lynch certainly deserves plenty of credit for moving Subaru advertising forward in recent years, but as a dedicated Subaru lover and an ad guy, I do have to wonder about what strings the creative is really trying to pluck.
The spot I remember best (probably debuted a few years ago) is a protective dad sending his new-driver daughter off on her own; as he cautions her, his POV arcs back and forth from the current teen version of the daughter to the little girl he still remembers her as. Touching and effective. In another, a young girl struggles, but successfully changes a tire – not in an emergency, as it turns out, but as part of a lesson from her father to build her independence, confidence, and safety.
A more recent spot features different people passing along the surprising news that “they lived” as the wreckage of an accident-totaled Subaru is processed. Riveting and effective. One more spot shows the family dog, from puppy into senior canine, as a faithful companion for the growing family. (Like Subaru, of course.) Involving and effective. I love all of ’em.
So why, why, why, CL, did you have to go and ruin the mood with several executions that seem totally OFF that strategy? In one, a Subaru is driven irresponsibly through a parking lot with a little girl in the back seat In another, a little boy is “imagined” into a day full of the driving-related hassles his dad faces. One question: why?
For years, Volvo has been the textbook example (literally – I teach advertising, too) of brand image – synonymous with safety. For a while there, Subaru seized that positioning within an even more compelling warmth and family framework. But the brand seems intent on handing it right back. Or at least allowing it to become secondary to some other attitude or emotion. The car for grownups who act like kids? The “sure, we’re safe, but we’re NOT boring” approach? I don’t know. But that’s just the problem. I”m a customer. And once I see your spots, I should know it. Or at least feel it.