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You had me at Subaru.

As many of you know I own a Subaru. Her name is Tula (she’s Greek. Just go with it.) and she’s a sparkly navy blue, when she’s not covered in dirt. I absolutely love her. She’s taken me to some pretty cool places and gotten me home safe many a times. It is due to this love affair that I have with my car, that while zooming through my DVR to get past the stupid commercials, I ALWAYS stop and watch the Subaru commercials. They always get to me too. On a deeper emotional level. Being a graphic designer and having spent several years now in marketing I know exactly what their ploy is: They’re playing on my emotions. But brands such as Subaru are not the first to employ this brand strategy, nor will they be the last.

Historically (this is based on a session I heard at the 2010 HOW Conference) there have been five waves of Brands. They are as follows:

Wave 1 (1875-1920) Brands of Consistency
Example: You knew that if you bought a Coke in New York that it would have the exact same taste as when you went to Denver. Brand leaders at this time were Coke and Campbells.

Wave 2 (1920-1965) Brands of Quality
Example: Coke was consistant everywhere, as well as safe to consume. The FDA developed around this time, creating the idea of quality.

Wave 3 (1965-1985) Brands as Expressive Statements
Specific brands made you have specific feelings. The brands would attract the idea of “like-minded” people. Example: Levi’s in the 80s. People wore these to have a status within society. You were part of a Levi “tribe” by owning these jeans.

Wave 4 (1985-2000) Brands as an Emotional Transformation
Example: Nike used to represent a pair of shoes. They then branded Nike to be a symbol of dedication to yourself, a true athlete.

Wave 5 (2000-Present) Brands of Connections
Brands are moving towards an limbic (meaning emotional or motivational) feel. They are created to evoke an emotion within you. Example: Pedigree. They made commercials about the shelter dogs and adopting them They are evoking an emotion within their viewer, and it’s not by talking about kibble.

Based on these waves, we are currently in Wave 5 and Subaru is right in there following suit, pulling on my heart strings. They take statements such as “You never forget your first love” and make me think about my car! If I didn’t already own a Subaru, I most likely might have melted against this onslaught of cute commercials and pondered owning one. Just because I know what they’re doing, doesn’t mean I’m immune to it…

Take a look at their three commercial campaign below. I’ll admit that I like the first two better than the last one. But I do like third one’s music! Enjoy!

One thought on “You had me at Subaru.”

  1. Lacy
     ·  Reply

    Great post Abby! Love the brand history lesson too- it was interesting to hear the pre-cursor to the Nike phenomenon, as that was the first brand association I remember having.
    Great commercials too! Entices me to want to fall in love, go for a drive and download the Pogues.

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