Subaru Shares Stories of Love in Latest Testimonial Ads for Its Charity Partners

$115 million donated over program's 10 years

Subaru of America marks the 10th year of its “Share the Love” program, which supports various charities, with a new flight of moving commercials from Carmichael Lynch. Reprising the casual yet intense style of last year’s ads, and once more featuring renditions of Jackie DeShannon’s “Put a Little Love in Your Heart,” the work presents real people explaining how the ASPCA, Make-A-Wish Foundation, Meals on Wheels and the National Park Foundation touched their lives.

And dawg, you will be bawling!

In the first spot, we meet a scrappy ASPCA shelter pup named—wait for it—Scrappy, who saved the life of his human pal Amanda after she suffered a severe reaction to medication:

If you can still see clearly through your tears, check out Matthew’s story next. Thanks to Make-A-Wish, this young man, battling a critical illness, has the clubhouse of his dreams. The kid’s courage and good humor really shine through, most notably when his mom reveals that he’s had “at least 10 surgeries,” and Matt chirpily responds, “It’s not that bad, though!”

“There are a lot of people in the world that need our help,” Brian Cavallucci, Subaru national advertising manager, tells Adweek. “If we are in a position to do something about it, to help someone in need, and make the world a better place, then we should do it.”

“Share the Love” runs through Jan. 2, with Subaru sending an extra $250 to its charitable partners (there are hundreds) for each vehicle sold. All told, by the end of this year’s event, the automaker estimates that it will have donated $115 million through the 10 years of the program.

In additional ads below, we meet a pair of veterans who share a special bond despite differences in their ages and life experience, and a gal who lovingly recreates clothes from a bygone era. Plus, there’s a spot that puts the broader mission in perspective.

“Believe me when I tell you, we all shed a lot of tears together” on set, says Cavallucci. “We constantly had boxes of tissues being passed around as we heard their stories. But we also laughed a lot. It was an experience I will never forget, and I am truly thankful for each person that shared their story with us.”

Though each ad varies somewhat in tone, the spare presentation allows the stories to resonate with emotional power. The catchy song, an appropriate choice, takes on added meaning when the subjects themselves sing a few bars.

Overall, it’s a genius approach, so much so that we mentioned the campaign in celebrating Subaru marketing chief Alan Bethke as an Adweek Brand Genius for 2017.

@DaveGian David Gianatasio is a longtime contributor to Adweek, where he has been a writer and editor for two decades. Previously serving as Adweek's New England bureau chief and web editor, he remains based in Boston.