2021 Winner

Subaru Canada

Greatest Outback Of All Time (G.O.O.A.T.)

Zulu Alpha Kilo

SilverChallenger Strategy

SilverROI Strategy

When an automotive company upgrades a model, it’s an important opportunity. When it launches the biggest upgrade in 25 years on its flagship model, expectations are extremely high. The totally reengineered 2020 Outback had the potential to really disrupt the Canadian automotive scene, but it faced real challenges.

The company is outspent in the media. Better known Japanese rivals Toyota and Nissan spend significantly more than Subaru, as do the major North America makers. Brand awareness is lower than the mainstream competition.

It’s outnumbered on the road. With less than a 3% market share in Canada, competitive brands have greater market presence and visibility on the road. Subaru is not the first brand Canadians think of when it comes to automotive options.

It’s ‘outdealered’ at point of purchase. In purely practical terms, it’s a lot easier to buy a Honda, Toyota or a North American vehicle than it is a Subaru. To make it more interesting, category momentum was going in the wrong direction. Overall sales were down -4.1% in 2018 and -3.6% in 2019.

The challenge was to buck bigger competitors and a declining automotive market to launch Subaru’s newest and feistiest Outback. In concrete numbers: Generate 5,000 leads and deliver 2,500 sales of the new vehicle in the first three months of the launch.

To demonstrate what the Outback is truly capable of, they need to go outside the category. The Outback isn’t a typical vehicle – it doesn’t fit into easy boxes. People think it’s a wagon, but it’s not, really. And it doesn’t fit into the mainstream SUV category either. Its uniqueness is its strength, and a true communication challenge.

The vehicle had what Canadian drivers need in all seasons and all weather. The question became how to demonstrate its capabilities to get the attention of buyers more familiar with mainstream, easily classified brands. Category wisdom would say to take them on head-to-head with direct comparisons. Outback wisdom says just the opposite.

GOOAT vs goat: a showdown to determine the true conqueror of Canada’s challenging environment. Rather than make a false comparison to another vehicle, the agency compared the Greatest Outback of All Time (the GOOAT) to something that was also well suited to tackling Canada’s challenging environment: an actual, honest-to-goodness mountain goat.

The campaign compared the ability of a mountain goat to traverse difficult terrain, carry big loads and endure tough conditions. The Outback was the clear winner each time. The seemingly ridiculous comparison demonstrated the Outback’s capability in a distinctive and memorable way.

The GOOAT to goat competition debuted in broadcast, online and cinema. Whether it’s going up the mountain or down the mountain, the duel between Symmetrical Full-Time All-Wheel Drive and hooves was just the beginning of the rivalry.

A reduced spend on traditional media allowed them to amplify the rivalry in digital and social, putting significant support behind content that focused on engagement. Presence across multiple media was important for a launch campaign, as it created a sense of bigness and allowed them to reach the younger audience that represents the brand’s future.

Subaru was the first car brand in Canada to leverage Facebook polls that pitted features against goat attributes. One poll compared the Outback’s 15 speakers against the goat's one speaker (its mouth). Another compared the Napa Leather against the goat's shaggy wool.

The GOOAT’s main competitor even made its way to the 2020 Auto Show for what they are sure was a world first: an interactive staring contest between potential buyers and the goat. The GOOAT campaign resulted in the most successful Outback launch in 25 years. In each of the five months following the launch, Subaru experienced its best-ever sales and year-on-year increases, with monthly increases ranging from +8.6% to an incredible +78%.

In the final 2019 brand tracking, Subaru achieved its highest-ever prompted and unprompted scores for the brand while the Outback achieved an all-time high for awareness at 60%.
From October through to the end of February, 4,613 vehicles were sold, that’s over $184 million in sales, which was more than $23 in immediate revenue for every dollar invested. Subaru’s return on investment was a whopping +2,276%. That was achieved in a category where sales were down 3% in 2019.

The unexpected approach succeeded at bringing to life the features that make the Outback the unique vehicle it is and created the distinctiveness and ownability needed for the campaign to stand apart and engage. When so much car marketing is cliché, well-trodden tropes, levity really does stand out.

Agency: Zulu Alpha Kilo
Chief Creative Officer: Zak Mroueh
Creative Directors: Susie Lee, Jonathan Smith
Art Directors: Michael Siegers, Alem Duranovic
Writers: Jonah Flynn, Jackson Kemp
Agency Producer: Revital Grunberg, Houng Ngui, Allison Dick
Account Team: David Tremblay, Tony Ciccia, James Farquharson
Planning Team: Tim Hopkins, Carly Miller
Developer: Kyle Collins
Client: Subaru Canada
Clients: Ted Lalka, Cynthia Bouris, Gary Sappleton, Curtis Lang
French Agency: Rinaldi
Media Agency: OMD
Media Team: Michelle Jairam, Martine Farrow, Cobi Grein
Production House: Spy Films
Director: Fatal Farm
Production House Executive Producer: Natalia Winardi
Production House Producer: Vanessa Lenarduzzi
Director of Photography: Todd Duym
Editing Company: Zulubot
Editor: Jay Baker
Online: Alter Ego
Special Effects: Darren Achim/Eric Perrella
Animation: Ian Flaig, Tom Wolstenholme
Colourist: Eric Whipp
Post Producer: Pallavi Joshi-Firby
Audio Post Facility/Music House: Eggplant Music & Sound
Audio Director: Adam Damelin
Producer: Nicola Treadgold
Engineer: Nathan Handy
Photographer: Noel Hendrickson.
Studio Artist: Jeannette Downes
Retouching: Brandon Dyson

Have questions? Need help?
Contact Rowan Traynor at 1-416-408-2300 x213 or rtraynor@brunico.com.