The Barkleys, Subaru’s family of dogs that drive like people—well, better than some people we know, actually—return in four comical commercials that broke during the Screen Actors Guild Awards telecast last night.
“This year, the creative team had additional inspiration in the new three-row Ascent, the biggest vehicle Subaru has ever made, and we looked for ideas that would let us give the world an early peek at this new vehicle,” Randy Hughes, executive creative director at Carmichael Lynch, the agency that developed the spots, tells AdFreak. “That led to the car wash and dropping the puppy off for the first day of school.”
In addition to touting the Ascent, “we also wanted some stories that spoke to a younger audience—a teen learning to drive, and a teen picking up Dad from the bowling alley, for example,” says Subaru national advertising manager Brian Cavallucci.
As always with the Barkleys, the cuteness factor alone is pretty grrrreat. But four years into the campaign, the team works hard to make sure their latest tales live up to the work’s impressive pedigree.
“In one respect, it gets easier to do great spots because we are smarter about our furry friends, and what we are able to accomplish with them,” says Hughes. “On the other hand, it can be difficult, because there’s less subject matter that remains fresh. We have taken bolder steps in the past. For example, one year we introduced a Subaru retailer who is selling vehicles to these dogs. But we have found our sweet spot is having these dogs that drive Subaru vehicles tell human stories that let us laugh at ourselves.”
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