How we kept a car running for over 20 years.

Background

Way back in 1996, Subaru of New Zealand faced decreasing sales and millions of dollars of losses. The brand was struggling to find a home in the hearts of Kiwis, and had attempted to be just like one of the other larger Japanese car brands with a fraction of the scale advantages to stay price-competitive.

 

Subaru’s international owners stepped in and fired both the local management and its agency. With a new client team and agency in place, it was time get the Subaru brand back on the road.

Generations of fun

Over the years, the Forester hasn’t just made driving fun, it’s driven us to it, with enough room for the kids, the dog, and the boogie boards. So to launch the 2019 Forester we looked back at the years of fun we’ve had in this iconic SUV, and featured the upgraded fun of the new model.

Do The Spirit Of Subaru

For more than 20 years, Subaru has been the car of Kiwis who get and out and do things. So in this brand campaign launching the new “do” positioning, we thought we’d take a walk on the wild side.

“The value BC&F Dentsu have added to our business over these years is a direct reflection of the strength of this relationship”.

Wal Dumper - MD Subaru

Surf to Summit

Here’s an old favourite demonstrating our country's variety and the brand’s abilities.

Our approach

Subaru shouldn’t have tried to be like one of the larger Japanese car brands because it simply isn’t. It’s a unique product, featuring an unusual flat Boxer engine and Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive. What once had Kiwis scratching their heads was soon to prove a huge advantage in differentiating Subaru from its competitors.

 

The team looked at what New Zealand drivers need. The country has very diverse terrain with temperamental weather, and a third of its roads are unsealed. Perfect conditions, in fact, for an All-Wheel Drive vehicle.

 

Ditching its 2WD offering (and half its sales), Subaru took the gamble of focusing on what made it the ideal car for Kiwis. Especially the ones who like to get out and do things in the most beautiful country in the world.

 

The agency deployed this strategy over the next 20 years, with a mixture of TVCs, outdoor, topical newspaper ads, digital and social executions you can see here. As a result, Subaru is enjoying its highest sales ever, consistent above-market growth, and market-leading profitability. What’s more, there are more Subarus per capita than just about anywhere else in the world.

From the Archives

Here are some of our favourite executions from over the years.

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Giving a trusted brand a friendlier face.

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The spirit of our times.

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How to get the nation talking about something no one wants to talk about.

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How we helped a power company weather an electrical storm.

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Addressing emotional turbulence in Kiwi men

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Launching the country’s cleanest cleaner

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Something everyone can agree on. Almost.

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Waking up an old New Zealand coffee brand.

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How we launched New Zealand’s new national bird.

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How we're helping stop New Zealand's biggest killer

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How do you make sense of the most anarchic brand in New Zealand?

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How do you get the strongest of perceptions to listen to reality?

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What do you do when you're not doing all that?

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So you do advertising. What about design?

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