Subaru of America wants to maintain its momentum.
With sales rising since 1996, the company launches its largest ad campaign Aug. 16 for the new model year. The campaign's TV commercials cover all models, and some of them name competitors.
'We have the financial wherewithal to do more spots, and
we want to broaden our advertising message and go beyond Outback,' said Bill Cyphers, who became vice president of marketing in June after 15 years with the company. 'Before, probably 95 percent of our ads were for Outback.'
Subaru will spend 20 percent more during the first 16 weeks of the campaign than it did to launch the new model year in 1998, said Cyphers, declining to discuss specifics.
In calendar 1998, Subaru spent $83.7 million in measured media, according to Competitive Media Reporting.
The agency Temerlin McClain in Dallas created nine TV commercials, which will air on spot broadcast TV in key markets and national cable, including A&E, ESPN, Discovery and Comedy Central.
The ad agency created six print ads, which will run in 75 magazines, and a slew of banner ads for the Internet.
The brand will spend 200 percent more on Web banner ads. Fourteen of the 19 Web sites are automotive.
Subaru expanded the advertorial print program it started last year to six national weekly magazines and eight monthlies, including Entertainment Weekly, Money, People, Discover, Newsweek and Smithsonian.
Its 1999-model-year sponsorship of National Public Radio's 'Weekend Edition' and 'Morning Edition' programs grows to include 'All Things Considered.'
Unlike carmakers that change advertising themes annually, Subaru is sticking with actor Paul Hogan as its wisecracking spokes-man. The Australian-born Hogan has been hawking Subarus for the past five years.
Hogan 'is very recognizable, and we haven't overused him,' said Rich DeSilva, a New Jersey dealer. 'He still has a lot of mileage left on him.' The advertising, he said, still focuses on 'our all-wheel-drive system, the meat of our product.'
NAMING THE COMPETITION
Subaru wants to attract younger buyers with 2000 models and get the word out that it offers more than just the Outback model.
The Outback Sport has started to do the job, bringing buyers with an average age of 30 to 35. That's about 10 years younger than buyers of the Outback sport wagon.
Cyphers said Subaru prospects of all ages are involved in outdoor activities, such as canoeing, skiing, biking and gardening. 'We target that active lifestyle,' he said.
In the Outback Sport commercial, Hogan rejoins his 20-something 'nephew,' who drives
the vehicle through its paces before arriving at an outdoor party of young people. The commercial notes the Outback Sport's higher horsepower vs. Toyota's RAV4.
One of two commercials for the Forester mentions the Lexus RX 300. The Outback sedan is followed through an urban scene and described as rugged with an 'uptown look.'
Subaru sales through June were 72,245, up 9.9 percent from a year ago.
Said Cyphers: 'We wanted to position specific Subaru models squarely against the competition and clearly differentiate them from other vehicles in their class.'