While simple, straightforward advertisements can convey a clear, easy-to-understand message, it's the inventive, funny ones that we often remember best. Case in point: Subaru's tongue-in-cheek "Mediocrity" campaign, which has netted the automaker a 2011 Webby Award, as well as the Gold 2010 International Automotive Advertising Award (IAAA).

The campaign focused on the stylish all-wheel drive Legacy as an alternative to the typical bland and boring midsize sedans. The Mediocrity advertisements featured a dull beige Mediocrity sedan and tongue-in-cheek interviews before revealing the new Legacy as a comparatively more engaging and exciting alternative.

"Consumers shouldn't have to settle on a vehicle that's just adequate," said Alan Bethke, director of marketing communication for Subaru of America. "The Mediocrity campaign was an engaging way to have some fun with this trend toward blandness while offering a better alternative: the 2011 Subaru Legacy."

Developed in partnership with Subaru's ad agency, Minneapolis-based Carmichael Lynch, the Mediocrity campaign focused specifically on digital media. The campaign included an interactive website, online banner and video ads and exposure on social media sites like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. Subaru even asked some of the automotive media (including AutoTrader) to play along with their own reviews of the comically bland Mediocrity. If the automaker's recent success is any indication, the campaign was a resounding success. The brand's sales jumped nearly 7 percent in April, with Legacy and Outback posting double-digit increases.

The Webby Awards, which are voted on by members of the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, celebrated its 15th anniversary this year with its largest awards ceremony ever. More than 10,000 entries were submitted from all 50 US states and 60 countries worldwide. The International Automotive Advertising Awards, meanwhile, were established in 1995 with the intent of showcasing excellence in automotive advertising.

Other Subaru ads also recognized by the IAAA include its "Baby Driver" TV spot, in which a dad gives his young daughter the keys to his Legacy while she's a toddler only to have her grow up as the camera cuts away, and its "Hockey Mom" commercial, which follows a mother of triplets driving her young sons to hockey games in a Forester SUV. 

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Jeffrey Archer is fortunate to have turned a passion for cars into a career. His wide-ranging automotive experience includes work for automakers and dealers in addition to covering the news. When not writing, he spends his time searching for unique cars on AutoTrader.com.

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