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Here’s Proof that Subaru Really Knows Its Customers

I was recently at the Los Angeles Auto Show, and when I visited, I was reminded that Subaru really knows its customers well. This reminder came when I walked by Subaru’s display which included, of course, some Subaru vehicles, but also … a kissing booth. With a dog.

In fact, Subaru had set up a white picket fence and a fake grass yard, to resemble a house’s yard — and there were even some dog toys scattered around. And then, right in the middle, was the dog kissing booth, with a wonderful little dog who seemed very eager to lick some people who were just as eager to get licked.

In the background, Subaru had an advertisement playing entitled “Meet the Barkleys,” a play on the word “bark” and centered around dogs — with the screen lined with paw prints and dog bones. And, finally, to cap it all off, there was a sign on the white picket fence on the outside of the display, stating: “Subaru Loves Dogs.”

This is a great example of how to market a brand like Subaru. Subaru makes excellent cars, of course, but they’re not just selling cars — they’re selling a lifestyle, appealing to young families with an affinity towards their pets. Few people don’t love dogs, and Subaru has positioned itself as the “dog loving brand,” earning a second look from dog lovers who are swayed by its dog-heavy marketing.

I don’t think this is a gimmick, necessarily, but rather an excellent form of brand positioning — and a great understanding of Subaru’s customers, who were already dog lovers to begin with. Indeed, when you think of many car brands you think of those brands’ vehicles, and little else — but given Subaru’s heavy, dog-focused marketing, the automaker has become more than just the sum of its cars. And a dog kissing booth at an auto show — instead of cramming in one more car — is a great way to continue that marketing.

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  1. Honestly I kind of hope they bring this to the 2019 Chicago Auto Show, I think it’d be a pretty interesting thing to see.

  2. Don’t get me wrong, but this was always bothering me about Subaru in North America. Even though I like dogs, when I think of Subaru, I want to see it more of an enthusiasts’ car, not a family soccer mom SUV with endless cupholders. Yes, I totally understand that their number 1 goal is to maximize revenue, and that’s the reason they make such emphasis on SUVs and family, but I feel like in the past few years their Sales/Advertisement team deliberately trying to turn Subaru’s image in North America into anything but sporty or exciting.

    • Whatcha mean… A dog would love too stick its it’s head out of a WRX STI and stick it’s tongue out while his owner drifts around the corner! Subie is the best doggo brand! 😛

    • You want Subaru to be something Subaru doesn’t want to be. They build family SUV’s. You “feel” their marketing people… marketed their product to the people who buy them? 

  3. Tito’s does the same thing in the Spirits world. They advertise with Dogs and talk about dogs on their bottle neckers and even have displays built around Dog houses. 

    Needless to say Tito’s sells very, very well…

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Doug Demuro
Doug Demuro
Doug DeMuro writes articles and makes videos, mainly about cars. Doug was born in Denver, Colorado, and received an economics degree from Emory University in Atlanta. After graduation, Doug spent three years working for Porsche Cars North America. Eventually, he quit his job to become a writer, largely because it meant that he no longer had to wear pants. Doug’s work has been featured in a... Read More about Doug Demuro

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