Subaru of America Inc. is de-emphasizing spokesman Paul Hogan in its advertising and may drop him next year.
In its latest advertising campaign, which broke June 2, Subaru did not use actor Hogan or tennis star Martina Navratilova.
Hogan's contract ends the first quarter of next year. Mark Darling, Subaru's vice president of marketing, would not say if the contract will be renewed.
Subaru has used Hogan, known for playing the wisecracking Australian character Crocodile Dundee, since 1995 to pitch the Outback. His latest TV commercials broke in October.
"They (Subaru marketers) want to conceptually move away from Hogan," dealer Don Hicks said from the company's national dealer meeting on May 31 in Chicago. "Whereas Hogan is synonymous just with the Outback, they want to push the whole family of cars. You'll probably see him, if at all, on a regional spot basis." Hicks owns Shortline Automotive Inc. (Subaru-Hyundai-Suzuki) in Aurora, Colo.
Subaru has used Navratilova to pitch the Forester as part of two active-women campaigns. Darling said he has not decided if he will continue that campaign, which has included other female athletes.
Navratilova's contract runs into 2003.