Archive for February, 2009

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Sharin’ the Love

February 16, 2009

NEWSFLASH: The economic crisis has got even the nation’s most recognized and profitable companies shaking in their boots.

Okay, not such a shock.

But to avoid being a total Debbie Downer in my first-ever blog post(!), I’d like to announce I’ve found THERE IS HOPE!

Even in the face of huge nation-wide layoffs, pay cuts and bankruptcy claims, some corporations have managed to hold on to the notion of social responsibility. While successful companies are ultimately concerned with the bottom line (read: money makes the world go ’round), some still consider social responsibility a legit investment.

Love.Its what makes a Subaru, a Subaru.

"Love.It's what makes a Subaru, a Subaru."

Car trouble

One market that’s been hit particularly hard by the economy’s downward spiral is the auto industry. From gas prices to production rates to tire sales (hey, I’m a Goodyear Gal), the entire auto market has taken some serious hits.

But, hark! Through the darkness… the shining, fuel-efficient lights of da-da-da-daa…

Subaru.

Yes, I know. I’ve seen the commercials. Subaru prides itself more than any Californian on being eco-friendly and announces on its Web site, “Love. It’s what makes a Subaru, a Subaru.” A little more touchy-feely than I’d expect from my local mechanic, but maybe I’m just a conservative grump.

What I can’t argue with is the recent success of Subaru’s “Share the Love” event. The company handed over a whopping $4.6 million to five charities at the 2009 Chicago Auto Show last week, ending the Love campaign with a bang.

The campaign ran from Nov. 28 through Jan. 2 and invited customers to “Share the Love” by -duh- buying or leasing a new Subaru. The company donated $250 from each sale to the customer’s choice of five charities:

  • Boys & Girls Clubs of America
  • Habitat for Humanity International
  • Meals On Wheels Association of America
  • National Wildlife Federation (NWF)
  • The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).

I’m sure Carmichael Lynch, Subaru’s branding agency, got a big pat on the back (and maybe a fat bonus) for this national feel-good campaign. But those are some smart PR-doers over there; the Love campaign caught the attention and charity of major media outlets and consumers alike, selling almost 20,000 vehicles over the holiday season.

sharelove

Subaru Share the Love Event

Good deeds pay off

It’s pretty hard to dispute the effects of Subaru’s branding campaign. One of the few auto-makers to report good news in the past months, Subaru was named 2008 Automotive Marketer of the Year and reported an 8 percent increase in January sales over last year.

Whether you choose to think of this campaign as a pure philanthropic effort or just another strategic marketing move, the fact is Subaru showed some real investment in the community. Charities are struggling through this financial crunch, and Subaru’s initiative will benefit many who need it.

So maybe my born-and-bred Subaru-loving boyfriend is right. Maybe all car companies aren’t created equal, and the Outback with 43 bumper stickers in front of me really is a contribution to the world’s well-being. Okay, Subaru, you’ve won me over.

What can I say? The kid’s got heart.