Subaru Will Take an ‘Inside’ Track

DALLAS The desire to better differentiate Subaru of America’s engineering strengths from those of a growing number of competitors led Temerlin McClain and the automaker to a new tagline and ultimately, Lance Armstrong.

Subaru’s former tag, “The beauty of all-wheel drive,” helped promote the car’s distinctive engineering when it was introduced in 1995. At that time, Subaru’s including all-wheel drive in all its vehicles was somewhat unique to the industry and the strategy established the brand’s positioning, according to agency executive creative director Eric McClellan.

Now, with a myriad of competitors that includes Audi and Volvo trying to reach what McClellan describes as the “rugged individualist” Subaru driver who “is at peace with himself no matter where he is,” the Cherry Hill, N.J.-based company decided to make a change. “Subaru has to go out and reclaim what they invented,” McClellan said.

The Irving, Texas-based Interpublic Group shop will introduce its new effort in an April campaign that includes a new tag, “Subaru. Driven by what’s inside.”

“These cars are different and we wanted to get to a point where we could talk about the engineering differences,” McClellan said. “The tag is more encompassing [than the former one], that we’re driven by a commitment to making safer, more fuel-efficient cars that can outperform others. It’s that ideological drive that’s inside Subaru as a company and also the engineering principles that make their cars superlative in their class.”

The tag came first and cycling champion Armstrong’s selection followed, McClellan said. “The way we see this, Lance Armstrong makes a lot of sense for Subaru because it’s not about him on the bike but who he is and his story of being able to start from where most people would have ended in his racing and in his life,” he said. “We don’t see this ending when he gets off the bike.”

McClellan said the April model-specific spots will amplify aspects of those units by drawing comparisons with Armstrong’s own experiences. “We’ll help people understand or build upon their understanding of Lance Armstrong and Subaru and how they reflect on one another,” he said.

Subaru spent $125 million on media through November 2002, according to CMR.

Universal McCann, Dallas, handles broadcast media buying.