‘Share the Love’ With Forester: 5 Questions With Subaru’s Brian Cavallucci


Subaru Share the Love

Subaru has an important priority in the new year: launching a fresh version of its staple Forester SUV. But the brand also believes it’s important to extend its “Share the Love” holiday season charity campaign for an 11th year by prominently promoting it in November and December.

So Subaru is working toward both priorities in the latest edition of “Share the Love,” which highlights the new Forester in the context of the charity campaign under which the brand says the company and its dealers have donated $140 million to charities over the past 11 years.

Among the charities and recipients highlighted are the Make-a-Wish Foundation, Meals on Wheels America, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and the National Park Foundation.

“We empower our owners by allowing them to select the charities that mean the most to them,” Brian Cavallucci, national advertising manager for Subaru of America, told brandchannel. “But we make the donation. It’s involving our vehicles and owners and their lives, the things they care about.”

So, for instance, in an ad about a grandmother taking her granddaughter to a national park for the first time, after they experience the awe of petting a tree frog and taking in the grandeur of a mountainous panorama, the vehicle they return to for the trip home is an all-new Forester.

Cavallucci discussed the new “Share the Love” commercials and Subaru branding with brandchannel.

How does the new campaign represent an evolution from what you’ve been doing?

Brian Cavallucci - Subaru

We’ve been evolving our storytelling around the vehicles we have and the love people have for their cars and the life they live. We do that through emotional storytelling, which has been successful for us. As a company, we get involved in philanthropic endeavors. This is the 11th year for “Share the Love.” At the end of the year most other automotive companies are doing a lot of incentive-based messaging because they’re trying to close out the year with strong incentives. We thought, “Let’s do something good with that money and give back.”

How do you balance that with the sales needs you might have at the end of the year? The market is getting tougher.

The last couple of years we’ve tried to focus on people or pets at places that are helped through the campaign, with interview-style commercials with people who are really impacted through national charities. This year our business situation has changed a bit: We have an all-new Forester that’s on the ground right now. We just came off launching all-new Ascent [large SUV]. We still have emotional stories about the charities that we support—each of the four charities has a dedicated spot —but we’ve included the all-new Forester in those commercials in ways that make sense. It’s the hero of those ads. That’s how we’ve included it because of the business situation. But the core element of the campaign—emotional storytelling about the charities—is still there.

How do Forester and its launch fit into the campaign?

The launch won’t start until after the new year but we wanted to include the Forester in “Share the Love” in a way that makes sense. It’s still really about the charities. Forester is just kind of there and in some cases it’s in the background. From a company standpoint the focus is: We do a lot of good things.

Sounds like Forester will be an important vehicle for you, right?

It’s a very, very crowded segment and a very competitive one and there are some very heavy hitters such as [Toyota] RAV-4 and [Honda] CR-V but the Forester has really held its share. We’ve done  well with it and people really like the car. There are some new features, too. We evolved the styling. There is a new driver-focused technology in our vehicles to alert people to drowsy or distracted driving. It helps keep people safe, which is something Subaru is known for. We also have a new Sport model trim. The new sport model looks a little bit different visually with a younger, cooler feel.

How has launch of the Ascent gone? 

It’s doing extremely well. In terms of the offering, we didn’t have something for our Outback owners to move up into if they had a larger family or bigger needs. Now we have that in our portfolio. There was a lot of pent-up demand for a car that size in Subaru and it’s done very well.

Get more insights in our Q&A series.