I may be dim, but I love this ad. A dad leans through an open window of a car door, dispensing driving advice to his 7 year-old daughter who’s behind the wheel. The little girl is giggly cute and after a bit tells her dad she’ll be fine. Cut to dad who winces his agreement, then back to the daughter, only now we see her as she really is — not through her dad’s eyes — and she’s a mature-looking teen. The car pulls out of the driveway as dad watches. “We knew this day would come, and that’s why we bought a Subaru,” the narrator intones.

This spot (Baby Driver) exhibits many qualities that make for brilliant, truthful advertising:

  • Immediacy — There’s no complicated story to follow or concept to deconstruct. You get drawn into what’s going on immediately, and the “payoff” is equally obvious.
  • Reality — Even though the sight of a kid behind the wheel is incongruous, the setting makes sense. It’s familiar and feels real, not contrived.
  • Humanity — The ad isn’t about a Subaru brand attribute but rather a human condition that every parent has felt. The brand then attaches to it (vs. the other way around).
  • Authenticity — Again, even though the kid doesn’t belong behind the wheel, there’s no storytelling “suspension of disbelief” required to understand the spot.

It’s also very telling that Subaru has been running the spot for almost two years, and it’s still as relevant and compelling now as it was when it debuted in 2010. Truths don’t change or depend on vicissitudes of fads or circumstances. Think how many other spots air that wouldn’t be anywhere near as durable, or even as compelling the first time around.

Now, quickly name another car spot that comes anywhere near this one.

I understand that the guy playing the dad in the spot is a dad in real life and riffed the lines instead of following a script. If it’s true, it shows, as the words he uses, and even his halting cadence, come across as heartfelt (the best actors blur the line between script and spirit).

As for Subaru, the company is on fire, returning consecutive months of increased sales and a first quarter of 2012 that was its best in its history. I wonder if the spot was happenstance and a glorious exception, or its strategists are finding other truths to communicate. I’d love to see more.

Original post: http://baskinbrand.com/?p=511