Temerlin Breaks New Series of Subaru Spots

DALLAS Temerlin McClain draws comparisons between cycling legend Lance Armstrong and Subaru of America’s vehicles in new work breaking Monday.

Client director of advertising Karen Allen, who declined to detail spending on the national campaign, said, “It’s the largest media investment in Subaru history.” Four spots break Monday, a fifth will be released early this summer and another will appear in the fall, she said.

The Cherry Hill, N.J.-based company has been steadily increasing its advertising budget over the years, spending $136 million on media last year, according to CMR.

The campaign, which was created under former ecd Eric McClellan, begins with four individual spots for the Forester, Outback, Impreza WRX and Baja models.

Each spot amplifies similarities between the four-time Tour de France winner and particular aspects of the vehicle. The Forester’s maneuverability is highlighted in one ad as Armstrong explains, “You have to be unstoppable. Be made of steel. But it’s better to be agile, be quick. You have to be strong, inside and out, but it’s better to be ready.” The images rotate among Armstrong’s races, a driver who swerves to avoid an accident and a scientific drawing of the car.

The WRX spot portrays the power of the 227-horsepower vehicle as Armstrong says, “It’s what’s inside that makes the difference. Between just handling the road and scorching the pavement. Between just moving and riding curves like you’re on rails.” In this spot, scenes of the WRX speeding down a dirt road are interspersed with Armstrong in a Tour de France race.

The other two ads maintain the same tone and formula. Each spot ends with Armstrong giving the name of the vehicle, saying “all-wheel drive” and then mentioning the new tagline, “Subaru. Driven by what’s inside.” That phrase replaces the former tag, “The beauty of all-wheel drive.”

Subaru signed a three-year contract with Armstrong earlier this year that has a two-year renewal option. “He is quite an icon in the public’s eye and a lot of what he represents—his drive, courage and focus—we feel are pretty good descriptions of Subaru,” Allen said.

The automaker dropped eight-year spokesperson Paul Hogan last year. While the Crocodile Dundee actor had helped consumers associate the Outback with ruggedness, his connection with the brand became more tenuous as Subaru expanded its product portfolio, Allen said.

Interpublic Group’s Temerlin of Irving, Texas, has also created 25-second spots that Subaru dealers can tag and use in their markets, Allen said.

The campaign’s extensive print component breaks in May issues of national magazines like National Geographic and Car and Driver. “We rely heavily on the print to tell the technical story that Subaru has,” Allen said.

The effort is the first to break under client marketing vice president Rick Crosson, who replaced Mark Darling in the position in January.

Universal McCann, Dallas, handles broadcast media buying.