Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share
8 January 2018
Subaru wins a major award just like Old Man Parker
Oh, those auto manufacturers. Give them an award and they think, “Wow. We’ve really gotten something here!” The Subaru Forester receives a 2018 Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Top Safety Pick, and it’s off and running with a campaign around it.
“But all brands have some version of those features, and also highlight them in ad campaigns. Is this what Subaru thinks will create preference?”
Do auto brands really think this works? I detest the Chevrolet truck spots because they feature an arrogant host, think focus groups are meaningful and trick audiences into thinking its JD Power awards mean something. (Dirty little secret. You can get a JD Power award just by paying for it.)
In this case, the spots highlight EyeSight Driver Assist Technology (say that three times) and LED Steering Responsive Headlights.
But all brands have some version of those features, and also highlight them in ad campaigns. Is this what Subaru thinks will create preference?
The new campaign is just a throwaway for Subaru
A few things to note here. First, I’d be giving Subaru kudos if safety were built into its brand. That is, if audiences thought Subaru meant safety. But it doesn’t. In fact, it’s theme is “Love,” which I have no idea what that means in this context.
No, if you ask audiences who stands for safety, almost to a person, you’ll hear the same response. Volvo. That auto brand owns safety because the value equals the brand. Volvo’s owned safety for years.
Now, you can swipe that position from Volvo if you were really committing to it. Perform the difficult brand work to find the most emotionally resonate way to embed safety into your brand. And keep to it. “Love” and an award no one understands isn’t enough.
Also, to create preference you must be different and better than your competition. How is EyeSight and LED headlights any different? Subaru claims it’s better because it won an award.
But that just makes the brand sound like Old Man Parker and his major award.
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