Subaru of America is back for a second straight year as a sponsor and advertiser of Puppy Bowl VII on cable’s Animal Planet on the same day as the Super Bowl.

While no fewer than eight automakers will advertise during the Super Bowl this year, Subaru last advertised in the big game in 1993.

Instead, Subaru is asking dog owners this year to walk their pets outside on Super Bowl Sunday by pledging on either Subaru.com or Facebook.com/SubaruofAmerica. The automaker collected more than 82,500 pledges in 11 days and there’s nearly a week still to go before the Puppy Bowl.

Pledgers on Subaru’s Facebook page can upload pictures of their dog to share with others and can get a free “doggie gift pack” as long as supplies last.

The automaker’s commercials will continue the “Dog tested” ads that Subaru introduced a year ago during the Puppy Bowl broadcast.

One of the commercials, from Subaru’s ad agency, Carmichael Lynch, Minneapolis, shows a dog behind the wheel of a Forester doing donuts on a frozen parking lot. The simple ad has no music or narrator, just the words “Dog tested. Dog Approved” on the screen at the end.

Subaru’s Brian Johnson, national advertising manager, said two-thirds of the brand’s owners are pet owners. “So the Dog Tested initiative was created to highlight Subaru owners’ love for their canine companions in an engaging, interactive way,” he said. “What better way to show that love than to commit to doing something healthy and active, for dogs and their humans, during one of the most popular days for lounging on the couch.”

The automaker says it knows its customers are active, environmentally-aware and socially- involved, which is why it has relationships with associations in those areas.

Subaru has been a sponsor of the non-profit American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals for nearly two years and Subaru dealers have staged several hundred pet adoption events stage in that time. It also has relationships with the American Canoe Association American, Geological Society Of America, International Mountain Bicycling Association and the National Ski Patrol, just to name a few.

In late January, the brand announced its newest partner- Wyoming’s Jackson Hole Mountain resort, where Subaru will host three events this year.

The automaker has been on a roll for the past few years – some of the most difficult in recent memory for the industry. Subaru sold nearly 264,000 new vehicles in the US. last year, a 22% jump from 2009 and again ahead of the Volkswagen brand.

author photo

Jean Halliday is a seasoned journalist with the nation's longest consecutive run covering auto advertising. Her years in the trenches include stints at Automotive News, Adweek and Advertising Age. The native New Yorker now lives outside the Motor City. You can read Jean's blog at AutoAdOpolis.wordpress.com.

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