The campaign trumpets third-party endorsements for Subaru's engineering and also touts Subaru's powertrain features--particularly the so-called boxer engine and standard all-wheel-drive, which have made the brand fairly unique since its inception in the U.S. market.
There will also be an environmental thrust, with ads touting the U.S. Subaru plant's Earth-friendly footprint and low-emissions vehicles.
The print ads will run in such publications as Atlantic Monthly, The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal, Smithsonian, and BusinessWeek. The broadcast spots will run on both national and cable programming, including NPR, Science Channel, Discovery, CNN, Headline News, CNBC and MSNBC.
Kevin Mayer, a former marketer at both Mitsubishi and Hyundai, and most recently at Suzuki agency Colby and Partners, became director of marketing communications at the Cherry Hill, N.J.-based Subaru two months ago.
He says the ads are aimed principally at opinion leaders--thus the media focus on the Journal and magazines like Atlantic Monthly.
"This effort is more of a true brand campaign than we have had in a long time," he says, "because it gets back to the essence of Subaru's brand values."
The effort precedes a barrage of new products from Subaru starting this summer. Mayer says about 10% of Subaru's national media spend is going toward this corporate effort, with a much larger spend earmarked for six products coming out in the third and fourth quarters, including a new version of the Legacy sedan, 2008 Outback, a redesigned Tribeca crossover, 2008 Impreza and WRX models.
He says that while Subaru is a relatively low-volume brand in the U.S., it doesn't suffer from an awareness problem. "What we are trying to do is get back to what does differentiate us: all-wheel-drive, engineering excellence and the fact that 95 percent of Subaru vehicles are still on the road after 10 years."