Photo credit: SUBARU
MICHAEL McCARTHY

In Subaru ad, a dog gets the last laugh and kicks

Michael McCarthy covers the sports and automotive beats for Advertising Age, a sister publication of Automotive News.
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You'd think a car company wouldn't run a spot showing a pooch run over by one of its vehicles, right? Wrong.

But Subaru of America will be pushing a spot created by Russian agency Smetana in St. Petersburg that depicts just that scenario. There is, of course, a surprise twist: The dog set the whole thing up in order to steal a Subaru and take it for a wild ride.

The commercial, for Subaru's importer in Russia, starts off as a typical dash-cam video -- which are ubiquitous in Russia -- showing a woman driving down a dark road at night. Suddenly, she runs over a dog that has darted out in the middle of the road. Trying to do the right thing, the woman stops her car, backs up and gets out to check on the poor pooch.

But the clever pup is just playing possum. As the guilt-ridden woman holds her head in her hands, the dog jumps up, hops behind the steering wheel and takes off. As he's driving away, the canine even tries to change the music selected by the woman (now left behind) on the car radio.

The tagline translated from Russian: "Who let her drive?"

Subaru of America wasn't aware of the spot until contacted by Ad Age. But spokesman Mike McHale says the company likes the Russian spot so much it decided to share it on its Facebook page.

"Kudos to our friends in Russia. We will definitely share this on our social channels," McHale said. "You have to reward good work."

Subaru of America has also shown dogs driving cars in its U.S. ads, including a more light-hearted campaign featuring the "Barkley" family of cute Golden Retrievers. The tagline: "Dog tested. Dog Approved." Carmichael Lynch of Minneapolis creates Subaru's U.S. ads.

Michael McCarthy covers the sports and automotive beats for Advertising Age, an affiliate of Automotive News.

You can reach Michael McCarthy at mmcarthy@adage.com.

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