Ad of the Day: Subaru’s Doggie Drivers Are Cute, Funny and Almost Human

Meet the Barkleys

Headshot of Emma Bazilian

Chances are you've already got an idea of what the typical Subaru owner looks like: They enjoy L.L. Bean, buying granola at Whole Foods and being very involved in their kid's soccer team. And they probably have a couple of big, slobbery dogs in the backseat.

Subaru is happily embracing that last stereotype with its new "Meet the Barkleys" campaign. The four 30-second spots (and website) follow the Subaru-loving Barkley clan as they deal with everyday situations from teenage dating dramas to family road trips to a dad getting chastised for paying a little too much attention to an attractive female. You know, stuff that everyone can relate to.

Oh, and did we mention the Barkleys are dogs?

Yes, Subaru is so dedicated to its canine passengers that it's been putting them behind the wheel for some time. And these aren't CGI-enhanced, cutesy talking animals—they're dogs that occasionally act like, well, dogs. (And can also drive.) In one spot, "What's the Fuss About?," the otherwise good-natured family suddenly experiences a barking attack while on the highway, which, it turns out, is because they've passed a mail truck. In "Road Trip Convenience Store," the group takes a detour to stop at a gas station, but rather than going inside to buy some Twizzlers, they go to the bathroom to take a nice, long drink from the toilet. And the object of Mr. Barkley's wandering eye in "In the Dog House"? A very well-groomed poodle.

The ads, from Carmichael Lynch and director Brian Lee Hughes of Skunk, aren't especially groundbreaking, but they have a sort of low-key humor that's hard not to find at least a bit appealing. Nor does it hurt that the dogs—especially the youngest Barkley, a squee-worthy Golden Retriever puppy—are straight-up adorable. And come on, who doesn't want to see a few more cute pups in their commercial breaks?


Client: Subaru of North America

Agency: Carmichael Lynch

Chief Creative Officer: Dave Damman

Exec Creative Director: Randy Hughes

Writer: Nick Nelson

Senior Art Director: Matt Pruett 

Director of Integrated Production: Joe Grundhoefer

Exec Content Producer: Freddie Richards

Senior Interactive Producer: Laura Coyle

Director of Business Affairs: Vicki Oachs

Account Service Team: David Eiben, Catherine Finn

Senior Project Manager: Jane Williams-Petersen

Production Company: SKUNK

Director: Brian Lee Hughes

Managing Partner/EP:  Matt Factor

Exec Producer: Shelly Townsend

Head of Production: Jeanne Stawiarski

Producer: Geoff McLean

Director of Photography: Jason McCormick

Edit House: Drive Thru

Editor: Mick Uzendoski

Exec Producer: Beth Wilson

VFX House/Online Artist: Drive Thru, Derek Johnson

Telecine: CO3, Sean Coleman

Audio Mix/Sound Design: BWN

Music Company: Echo Boys

@adweekemma Emma Bazilian is Adweek's features editor.