I thought I had dealt with my sour feelings over the Sumo Wrestler campaign for our beloved Subaru. As the dedicated member of a family well practiced at stuffing down unpleasant feelings and pretending that things never happened, I thought I could forget and move on. But on our last camping trip of the season it all came flooding back to the surface.
I had picked up the campground orientation booklet for the purpose of briefing Taylor and Jack on the telltale characteristics of poison ivy, when the ad on the back cover caught my eye.
Oh dear. That sumo wrestler has followed me into the wilderness. A regular reader of the blog had warned me to watch out for him hiding in my backseat, and I had laughed at the thought. But look. There he was.
When I wrote the original post in early August, I took the liberty of sending a link along to Subaru Canada just to see what kind of response I might get. Maybe the marketing gurus there would recognize my marketing genius and see the error of their ways. Maybe they would be so impressed with my insight that they would offer me a consulting gig on the spot! Perhaps they would beg for our continued loyalty and offer us a deep discount on a new Tribeca to accomodate our growing space requirements. Hope springs eternal in my daydreams.
I didn’t have much time to dream about what might happen. Their response came in less than an hour:
Sent: August-02-11 1:32 PM
To: Diane Williams
Subject: ROU – Forester Ad
Thank you for taking the time to voice your opinion on our recent advertising campaign. We sincerely apologize if you found the ad to be in some way objectionable. It was
certainly not our intent to upset or offend anyone. At Subaru Canada, we always try to create advertising that gets noticed and sets us apart from our competitors. In our most recent campaign, we wanted to showcase the redesigned features of the new 2011 Forester in the most impactful and entertaining way possible. As a Japanese automobile manufacturer, we pride ourselves on building safe, reliable vehicles, with the highest quality standard. The idea behind the new advertising is to leverage our Japanese heritage while showcasing the new features of the 2011 Forester SUV in a fun, surprising way.
The Forester campaign concept with the sumo wrestlers and the tagline “Sexy Comes Standard”, was researched with consumers during campaign development and before it was aired. The advertising’s tongue-in-cheek humour is meant to generate a smile and not to be taken too seriously. We believe the ads are respectful to the athletes and their sport. The authentic professional sumo wrestlers that appear in the advertising are the top in their field and are widely admired for their athletic capabilities. Given sumo wrestling’s deep tradition and respected place in Japanese culture, we felt that this was a great way to bring attention to the Japanese-engineered, Subaru Foresters unique style and performance capabilities.
Subaru Canada values the opinions of our customers and potential customers, and we appreciate that you took the time to contact us.
Richard Ouellette | Bilingual Consumer Support
Representative, Customer Care/Service à la clientèle
I remember dating someone in high school. I loved him dearly and thought he loved me
too. I thought we would be together forever. But then one day, he sent a clear message that showed he did not care for me as deeply as I cared for him. To him I was just a good friend. And he had lots of friends.
I’m tempted to write back to Subaru pointing out that they’ve left the apostrophe out of “Forester’s” in the last paragraph of their form letter. But then they might think I care about them. And I’m so over my love affair with Subaru.
Next week, we’re planning to take the Honda Odyssey for a test drive.