Subaru: The Fairest Of All

Temerlin’s ‘Beauty’ Accents $65 Mil. TV, Print Push
DALLAS–Irving, Texas-based Temerlin McClain next week will launch a $65 million campaign promoting Subaru of America’s 1999 Outback and Forester models with renewed emphasis on “The beauty of all-wheel drive” positioning.
The campaign’s five 30-second television spots continue to use actors Paul Hogan and Judge Reinhold but drop the individual taglines used last year for the Forester (“Sport utility tough. Car easy.”) and Outback (“The world’s first sport utility wagon.”)
Those lines will still appear in the body copy of print ads that begin appearing in nearly 60 magazines in October.
Subaru director of marketing Tim Mahoney said the company decided to tag all of its ads with the all-wheel drive line (created by Temerlin in 1994), based on focus group research revealing it as a major selling point with high consumer recall.
One spot for the Outback plays up the hybrid vehicle’s unique look, opening with Hogan in his Outback surrounded by a highway full of Jeep Cherokees and Ford Explorers. Hogan veers off the road and over rugged land to a bar he finds filled with Crocodile Dundee look-alikes. “What a weird-looking bunch that was,” he quips.
Another spot pairs Reinhold and Hogan for the first time. The ad intercuts shots of Reinhold in the desert holding a remote control with footage of an Outback navigating treacherous terrain. As the vehicle nears Reinhold, he hits pause, freezing the vehicle in mid-air behind him as he explains how all-wheel drive technology “automatically transfers power from the wheels that slip to the wheels that grip, which means that it does the thinking for you.”
That said, the vehicle drops and splashes Reinhold with mud. Hogan is revealed as the driver, who leans out the window and says, “Sorry mate, I guess I wasn’t thinkin.’ “
One commercial for the Forester promotes a May 1998 Car & Driver survey that named it the top SUV in its class. Another spot features “Sarah,” Hogan’s sidekick in previous ads, outrunning a Honda CR-V as a voiceover notes the vehicle has 30 percent more horsepower than its competitor. The ad ends with Sarah ripping off a mask, revealing her as Hogan in disguise.
Mahoney said seven print ads are still in development. That work will incorporate a new graphic illustrating all-wheel drive technology and position the Outback and Forester against their category rivals.
The national cable and spot TV schedule includes buys on Lifetime, ESPN, The Discovery Channel, CNN and A&E. Print ads will appear in publications including Time, Newsweek, Money, Fortune, Men’s Health and automotive periodicals.
Mahoney said the Cherry Hill, N.J-based automaker is on target to sell 135,000 vehicles this year and anticipates revenues will exceed $3 billion.