I’ve been a big fan of Subaru’s dog campaign ever since I saw the first commercial spot with a family of golden retrievers and labs “driving” one of its vehicles. I mean, what’s not to love about that? They are also called the Barkleys which is just too adorable. And it’s not by accident since according to the company, about half of Subaru buyers own dogs. But something I am not always a huge fan of? When brands half-heartedly get behind a hashtag or trending “national holiday” simply for the sake of not being left behind. So a “one post and done” type of deal.
A few weeks ago, I saw a commercial from Subaru stating that tomorrow was #MakeADogsDay which I thought was in line with their brand, but I was also skeptical that this was another “one and done” approach. Subaru, however, proved me wrong.
Make a Dogs Day is a “holiday” actually established by Subaru. I learned that the brand has an 11-year partnership with the ASPCA and part of its Subaru Loves Pets campaign, Subaru invited dog lovers to do something special for their dogs, while they sponsored a nationwide effort to help shelter dogs find loving homes. The next day I opened up Instagram and saw a sponsored post. Subaru had sponsored posts in its feed, and when I clicked on its stories, it was sharing images that fans had sent in of their dogs. Smart. The hashtag was also trending on Twitter, so Subaru had utilized paid social across several channels to promote this day. Smart again.
Not only that, but the company also used its paid budget to tap GMA (I am assuming this was paid because how else could it have executed so perfectly?!) and promoted this with a segment.
And then there was Amazon. When I tapped over to my Amazon app, Subaru had also established a presence there to encourage customers who use AmazonSmile to donate to the ASPCA. And that evening when I was watching TV again, I saw more spots about the day.
There was an influencer play, too with none other than Doug the Pug showing his support! Subaru utilized earned media, too. There were national placements in Newsweek, but also local placements talking about dealerships across the country having “Pawties” to celebrate the Subaru Loves Pets campaign.
After October, Subaru didn’t simply shut off this messaging, either. I just looked over at Subaru’s Twitter feed and saw a retweet just a few days ago from the ASPCA, talking about the upcoming Share the Love event which again provides funds to the ASPCA, as well as other national and local charities.
Subaru’s marketing is not “one and done” with a quick tweet about a trending hashtag like #NationalDogDay. Rather, it actually took the time to establish its own hashtag, which reflects its commitment to pets and its mission, vision, and values as a company. This is something the company is doing year-round and was smart to execute a paid and earned approach so customers and potential customers keep the brand top of mind.