Subaru commercial wins over one big fan: the U.S. government

By David Kiley on Thu Oct 14 2010

Usually the federal government comments about ads only when one of its regulating agencies has a problem. But transportation secretary Ray LaHood has singled out Subaru of America for praise.
  LaHood recently called Subaru of America COO Tom Doll to praise the Japanese automaker for its recent ad about distracted driving. "Their 30-second ad is all about a parent telling their young child, 'Don't use a cell phone, and don't text and drive,' " LaHood tells The Detroit News. He told Doll: "You're stepping up here with really persuading people, and you're going to win big accolades for doing that."
  The ad, shown here, titled "Baby Driver," was created by Minneapolis agency Carmichael Lynch, and features a father telling a young child not to text or make calls behind the wheel. It ends with the youngster, now a teen driver, behind the wheel. "Stay off the freeways—I don't want you going on those yet," the dad says. "Call me—but not while you're driving."
  The federal government is majority owner of General Motors. I'm thinking this has to make the GM peeps feel like the son whose dad gushes about the neighbor kid's baseball prowess. LaHood has been on a rampage about distracted driving, and is known to privately want to ban all telephony as well as texting from driving. That's not likely, though. The telecommunications industry has a lobby almost as powerful as the healthcare industry, and the companies, while not promoting texting and driving, don't want to see people have to give up at least hands-free calling behind the wheels.

Subaru Legacy is a much better choice than the 2011 Mediocrity

By David Kiley on Wed Oct 6 2010

Subaru is on a bit of a roll. The Outback won Motor Trend's Sport Utility of the Year last year, among other kudos. And the automaker's chief marketing executive, Tim Mahoney, was honored in Brandweek's recent Marketer of the Year issue. It's from this zone of good fortune and hyperconfidence that the automaker seems to have launched this cheeky video promoting he 2011 Mediocrity, a four-door sedan that has "figured out a way to blend in more." The effort is meant to call attention to the redesign of the Legacy mid-size sedan, which Subaru feels is far from anonymous looking and the antidote to the sedan. Note: Subaru drafted a Kia Optima to play the role of the Mediocrity. Where are the Kia hamsters when you need them to gnaw a hole in Mahoney's pants leg?
  The video, by Carmichael Lynch in Minneapolis, includes spy shots, promotional videos and interviews with designers to try to capture the essence of the world's most boring car. I had thought that was the four-door Nissan Versa sedan, or one of the cardboard sedans turned out by Chinese automakers. But the Optima proves to be a worthy choice as well. The earnestness and deadpan delivery of the actors is hilarious. "Instead of breaking the mold, we went down and found the pieces of the mold and put them back together," says one. The car has an "M" logo on the front grille, and there is a Citizen Kane "Rosebud" whisper at the end that punctuates the fun ... "Mediocrity."

Continue reading "Subaru Legacy is a much better choice than the 2011 Mediocrity" »

Subaru owners can wash filthy selves off with Outback detergent

Posted on Mon Oct 5 2009

Subaru, the auto brand that seems uniquely positioned to withstand a recession, is now getting into Procter & Gamble's turf with a detergent line. The Japanese automaker quietly released Outback Detergent with an infomercial. The line is aimed at Subaru's rough-and-tumble fans, who soil their clothes on rugged mountain treks and such. OK, the detergent line isn't real, but it is a funny and flattering portrayal of people who buy Subarus. The infomercial, created by Carmichael Lynch is pretty spot-on. "Shelly, do me a favor, smell this," says the host, handing off a pair of shorts. "Smells great," Shelly coos. The host beams: "I wore these exact shorts on a 50-mile mountain bike ride before coming in here today!" "I want this in a perfume," says Shelly, who then hands the shorts off to the audience to sniff. Other vignettes show a nature photographer doing his thing ("Who's a sexy bird?" he calls to a fake sparrow) and a guy rappelling off a cliff who ends up in a neck brace. The weird thing is, a detergent for Outback types isn't that bad an idea. Maybe L.L. Bean should look into it.

—Posted by Todd Wasserman


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