Subaru owners are cause-driven, as anyone knows who has driven behind one of the automaker's vehicles: it is a rare thing to see a bald, sticker-free, bumper on a Subaru. Since 2008 or so, the automaker has capitalized on that with a year-end campaign involving an unusual incentive: instead of cash on the hood, it's cash to a cause. The "Share the Love" campaign, running through December each year, gives $250 per purchase to one of a short list of charities the buyer chooses.
This year's list of charities is the ASPCA, Make-A-Wish, Meals On Wheels Association of America, and National Park Foundation. And retailers can also add to the donation roster with local charities they choose. Subaru says dealers, combined, have a roster of some 608 groups they are donating. The company estimates $15 million will be donated.
As in prior years, Subaru is promoting the event with a national TV and digital ad campaign, “How It Feels,” via AOR Minneapolis-based Carmichael Lynch. The effort launches with a national slice-of-life spot showing people volunteering for the different charities to which Subaru is donating: a woman brings a meal to an elderly woman as a Meals On Wheels volunteer; another woman is shown washing a dog in an animal shelter as part of ASPCA; a volunteer for the Make-A-Wish Foundation plays on the beach with a child who is being treated for cancer; a family admires an owl in a tree, as they stand in front of their Subaru Outback; there's a woman next to her Subaru, and a shot of the rear of the car with stickers for the charities represented affixed to the hatchback and bumper — a play on the fact that Subaru owners love to tout their affinities.
Alan Bethke, VP marketing with the Cherry Hill, N.J., company said that by the end of the year Subaru will have donated $50 million to national and local charities since the inception of the Share the Love program.
Digital elements include a back-story video focusing on one of the beneficiaries of the Share the Love campaign, the boy shown playing on the beach. The video features Brian Cavalluci, Subaru's national ad manager, who sits with the boy, Ryan, and explains how the child got to go to Hawaii as part of the Make-A-Wish program. A second video goes into how each charity has benefited ($9 million to ASPCA; $4.5 million to Make-A-Wish; assistance to 71 national parks; a million meals and support to national and local Meals On Wheels programs).