Subaru Unveils Two New Safety Ads, and They Couldn’t Be More Different

One bleak and somber, one comic

Nothing says love quite like twisted steel and shredded tires.

Wrecked cars, and their understandably shaken and contrite teenage drivers, appear in Carmichael Lynch's latest work for Subaru, which focuses on the automaker's safety record as part of its long-running and highly successful "Love" campaign.

In "I'm Sorry," a spot breaking today in 60- and 30-second edits, everyone walks away with minimal physical damage. Still, it makes us wonder if Mom and Pop will give these kids the keys again any time soon.

"We used real Subaru vehicles that were in real crashes," Brian Cavallucci, client national advertising manager, tells AdFreak, "and while there is always a risk in spots like this, we did our best to depict accidents that were representative of real-life scenarios."

Subaru has driven down this road before, showing horribly crashed cars in "They Lived," a memorable ad from 2014 that also touted safety. Real stories from Subaru drivers inspired both that work and the current "I'm Sorry" commercial.

"We get letters and emails sent to us, directly from our owners, with stories and pictures from vehicle crashes that they survived," often escaping "with nothing but bumps and bruises," says Cavallucci. "They send these in to thank Subaru for building safe cars that protected them, and their loved ones."

Another new spot, "Take the Subaru," employs a much lighter tone to convey the safety message, as kids reach for potentially dangerous items, only to be thwarted by their parents every time.

A spear gun and blow torch? Sounds like one heck of a Show & Tell!

Directed by The Corner Shop's Peter Thwaites, both spots are a tad edgy—"I'm Sorry" obviously far more so than its comedic counterpart—especially with young people front and center, and the notion of crashes hanging in the air.

That tension gives the brand's familiar "Love" refrain some relatable dimension and extra emotional depth. And it's refreshing to see a carmaker get under viewers' skin, and perhaps, grind their gears a bit, rather than sticking in neutral with happy-smiley advertising that doesn't take any chances.

"Our owners love their Subaru vehicles for a variety of reasons," Cavallucci says. "In moments when they have been in an accident, or someone they love has been in an accident, and their Subaru kept them safe, that is a moment that causes them to love their Subaru even more."


Client: Subaru of America

Senior Vice President of Marketing: Alan Bethke

National Advertising Manager: Brian Cavallucci

Advertising Production Specialist: Michelle Shoultes

Agency: Carmichael Lynch

Chief Creative Officer: Marty Senn

Exec Creative Director: Randy Hughes

Writer/Group Creative Director: Dean Buckhorn

Art Director/Creative Director: Brad Harrison

Head of Production: Joe Grundhoefer

Senior Executive Content Producer: Brynn Hausmann

Director of Business Affairs: Vicki Oachs

Talent Payment Specialist: Jennifer Knutson

Account Management Team:

Brad Williams, Adam Craw, Erin Zunich

Product Information Team: Robert Ar, Jonathan Bush

Brand Planning Team: Liz Giel, Meghan McCollum, Maddie Wolf

Senior Project Manager: Allison Sadeghi

Production Company: The Corner Shop

Director: Peter Thwaites

Managing Partner/Executive Producer: Anna Hashmi

Line Producer: Donald Taylor

Director of Photography: Joost Van Gelder

Edit House: Work Editorial

Editor: Stewart Reeves ("I'm Sorry"), Arielle Zakowski ("Take the Subaru")

Assistant Editor: Louise Robinson

Executive Producer: Marlo Baird

Producer: Brandee Probasco

Telecine: Adam Scott, The Mill

VFX House / Online Artist(s): Steve Medin, Volt Studios

VFX Post Producer: Amanda Tibbits

Audio Mix: Carl White, SisterBoss

Sound Design: Carl White, SisterBoss

Post Production Audio Producer: Annie Sparrows, SisterBoss


"I'm Sorry"

Music by Barking Owl

Creative Director : Kelly Bayett

Producer: KC Dossett


Performed by: Carolina Chocolate Drops

Writer: Hannes Coetzee

Music Supervisor: Jonathan Hecht, Venn Arts

@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.