I don't like pretentious advertising or promotion. There's enough of it in politics to fill my cup to overflowing without the touchy-feely crowd encroaching on my choice of vehicle.
Subaru's current ad campaign features obtuse situations based on the notion that Subaru owners love their cars, themselves, and other Subaru owners. Ostensibly, there's nothing wrong with that idea. However, Subaru squanders it with self-righteous drivel that eventually increases my negative feelings for the brand--a brand I've liked for many years.
One ad features a bespectacled tweener driving his 300,000-mile Forester to a picturesque hillside dubbed "Subaru Heaven" where he dumps it for other Forester owners to cannibalize, "one piece at a time." He and his friend leave in a new Forester. Subtle acoustic guitar provides the emo-like atmosphere while the maudlin hipsters litter a beautiful landscape with their old piece of junk. I suppose to Subaru, nothing says LOVE like dumping your hazardous waste on a pristine hillside.
Another ad shows a Forester owner involved in macho activities like mountain biking and rock climbing (Land Rover G4 wannabe?) while his car accumulates all manner of dirt and filth. His failure to wash it is based on his love of the car. "I consider the dirt and trail dust and mud that gets splattered on it...a badge of honor." Okay so far. "Who am I to wash all that away?" Oh come on. Finally, a rain shower cleans his car as he laments, "I just let the universe take care of it." Let's get this straight--his dirty car shows everyone how bitchin' HE is, right? He's not. People who really love their car/truck actually want it to stay in good condition. Destroying the exterior by letting road grime, oil, salt, mud, tumbleweeds, or small woodland creatures build up on and beneath their vehicles is not love. I suppose the half-eaten vegetarian burrito that fell in between the seats is also a badge of courage. "That smell? No honey, that's not me." Dunno, smells like love to me.
Last, in Subaru's Impreza ad, a hip, leather-jacket-wearing youth walks up to a parked STI at the same time a meter maid does. The meter has expired. He places a coin in just in time to avoid a ticket, after which, he continues walking past the STI to his Impreza wagon parked just in front of it. The meter maid looks befuddled. The moral? This Subaru guy helps out his fellow Subaru owner because he loves him/her. At least this ad has the basis of a good sales pitch if it weren't so damn smug. There's great humor available here but it was usurped by the ad's pompous tag line, delivered in a soft contemplative voice, "...I love that engine. And I love anyone else who loves that engine too". Yuck! Dial 1-800-PRETENTIOUS.
The last time I felt this heavy-handed manipulation was when Barney, the irritating purple reptile, was trying to love his way into my kids' life. Remember Barney the Dinosaur? You know, "I love you, you love me..." Even for a child, it's ridiculous, simplistic nonsense based on feeling, not substance. Meaningless love is a psychological ailment. For examples of this, check out “Miami Animal Police” on the “Animal Planet.” How many cases involve people who "love" animals so much that they are compelled to "rescue" more than they can care for. The results are never as good as the intentions.
Subaru vehicles are very good. I'm a big fan of the Impreza WRX family. If you doubt me, check my comments in Motor Trend. It's obvious that Subaru has an overwhelming desire to appear eco-friendly and hip. That probably works well for its growing demographic, having surpassed Volvo in popularity with the uber-hip crowd in recent years. These commercials are understandably popular in the Subaru "community." It serves to reinforce their elitism.
To me, it's a bunch of political hoo-hah that doesn't say squat about Subaru's tangible attributes. What's worse is the scenarios countermand the very points they are trying to make. Move past the weepy music and nice camera work to reveal that they encourage abandoning vehicles; endorse decreasing gas mileage with dirty, overweight vehicles; advocate irresponsible behavior by owners; suggest these actions should be based on group-think. Definitely not the kind of love I feel for family, friends, pets, or even my favorite guitar.
Hold on, perhaps it's this kind of love: "Man, I'd love a pretzel right now." Yeah, that seems cheap enough. A pretzel, it's what makes Subaru, a Subaru.