Subaru dials up emotional advertising with talking dogs

Lindsay Bennett
By Lindsay Bennett | 21 March 2016

Subaru has launched a new brand strategy, 'Subaru Do', that bids on emotions to differentiate the brand in the “most competitive market in the world”.

The creative launched last week, moving away from typical car ads to feature talking dogs. The dogs sing Subaru's 'Do' message to get their owners to take them for a drive to the beach. The ads are designed to highlight the active nature of Australians.

As part of the campaign, there will be one main TV commercial released later this month, along with 31 short films. The short films vary from 5-8 seconds using a range of different creative approaches to resonate with customers at different stages of the path to purchase.

Peter Buckley, creative partner at Disciple, the agency behind 'Do', says the campaign re-frames what the business represents and is “more than just advertising”, rather a focus on customer experience.

“The campaign was designed to reposition the business itself and produce an easy to understand framework. We wanted to move away from a technical point of view and start appealing to people's emotions,” Buckley says.

He explains the short films are designed to more active with customers socially at all points, as the path to purchase is no longer linear.

“We'd like to see a more powerful brand develop that targets people emotionally rather than talking to the same people around [product] benefits," says Buckley.

Subaru general manager of marketing, Andrew Caie, explains that as a smaller player, with only 4% of the market share, its challenge is to stand out in a market where brands are selling a similar product.

“After the success of the Australiana campaign last year for the Subaru Outback, we found that the local market resonates with a certain type of language," he says.

“The car industry hasn't changed for 50 years, it's one of the last industries that hasn't changed its selling model. 'Do' isn't about changing the model, but it's about making the customer experience more relevant to potential customers."

Caie says he would like to see Subaru reach a 5% market share, but it's an aspiration rather than a firm target. He explains TV still has a role to play in marketing that needs to achieve a mass reach, but a strong digital strategy is vital.

“We wanted to maximise online so customers really absorb the messages. We don't want to spike in shares like other brands, we want the campaign to set up continual growth,” Caie says.

“Advertisers want to go on social media without an overarching media plan which is where they run into trouble. People are turning off billions of dollars of advertising before they even see the product because the creative isn't speaking to the customer.”

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