Presentation on theme: "Entirely Comfortable with Its Orientation: Subaru’s Successful History of Gay/Lesbian Integrated Marketing Communications."— Presentation transcript:
1 Entirely Comfortable with Its Orientation: Subaru’s Successful History of Gay/Lesbian Integrated Marketing Communications
2 “Companies can’t just throw one ad at gay consumers and think they’re done.” – Mike Wilke, Founder and former Executive Director of Commercial Closet Association
3 Roadmap The U.S. Automotive Industry Brief History of Gay & Lesbian MarketingSubaruCompany OverviewGay & Lesbian IMC EffortsRecognitionFordGay-Friendly HistoryAFA BoycottComparing Subaru and FordCurrent DilemmaQuestions
4 The U.S. Automotive Industry 40+ automotive makers in the U.S.Current turmoil:economic recessionincreased oil pricespoor managementChrysler and GM file for bankruptcy in 2009U.S. sales breakdown:Japanese auto manufacturers = 47.5%American manufacturers = 34.8%Foreign imports (primarily European) = 17.7%Industry leads all in ad spendingallocated $10.1 billion to advertising in 2008
5 Brief History of Gay/Lesbian Mktg Ad spending in gay media more than tripled between 1994 and 2007 ($53 million to $182 million)Companies across several industries market to gays/lesbians, yet few total companies overallIKEA (1994), AT&T (1994), Mazda (1994), and John Hancock (2000) receive conservative backlash for their adsGay automotive advertisements:Saab first to advertise to gays/lesbians in 1994Saturn second 1995Subaru third 1996VW fourth 1997
7 Subaru: Company Overview 1917: Nakajima Aircraft Co., Ltd. founded1953: Fuji Heavy Industries (FHI) created1958: Subaru of Japan founded1968: Subaru of America founded
8 Subaru: Company Overview Subaru today:Headquartered in Cherry Hill, NJLed by Yoshio Hasunuma: Chairman, President, & CEO600 dealerships nationwide2008: Sold 192,760 cars2008: 2.2% of U.S. market share2008: Spent $195 million on advertisingToyota owns an 8.7% stake in FHI
10 Subaru: Gay/Lesbian IMC Efforts 1994: Research shows lesbians are key consumer base1995: Founding sponsor of Rainbow Card1996: began advertising in gay media“Entirely comfortable with its orientation.”“It’s not a choice. It’s the way we’re built.”“Get out and stay out.”“Different Drivers. Different Roads. One Car.”
12 Subaru: Gay/Lesbian IMC Efforts today: sponsors gay/lesbian events nationwide: Brand integration on The L Word: founding sponsor of Sirius OutQtoday: founding sponsor of Logo; current Logo Legacy Campaign using brand interstitials
13 Subaru: Gay/Lesbian IMC Efforts “Look, we know that our owner base and ourconsumers are extremely well educated, andthey celebrate diversity. A person who would beoffended by our advertising probably would nothave bought our car anyway.”- Tim Bennett, former Director of Marketing for Subaru08/17/2001
14 Subaru: Recognition 2002 – today: HRC CEI ranking 2005: Bennett wins Visionary Executive Award from Commercial Closet Association2008: MediaPost’s Automotive Marketer of the Year2009: GLAAD’s Corporate Responsibility Award
16 Ford: Company Overview 2008: Net income of $14.7 billion2008: Sold 2.3 million automobiles in North America alone2008: 14.2% of all U.S. Auto sales2008: 6th largest U.S. advertiser ($1.4 billion)One of the Big 3 American auto manufacturersOnly one of Big Three to not receive bailout money in 2008
17 Ford: Gay-Friendly History 1995: GLOBE founded1996: GLOBE develops intranet site1999: Jaguar sponsors GLAAD Media Awards2000 – today: Ford sponsors numerous gay/lesbian events2001: Volvo starts advertising in gay media2002: Land Rover starts advertising2003: Jaguar starts advertising
18 Ford: Recognition 2000: HRC Corporate Equality Award 2002 – today: HRC CEI ranking2004 and 2005: only automotive company to score perfect 1002003: Diversity, Inc. names Ford #1 for diversity, second best for LGBT employees
19 Ford: AFA Boycott 05/31/2005: AFA announces boycott 06/2005: Ford meets with AFA for first time11/28/2005: Ford meets with AFA for second time; announces it’s pulling future Jaguar and Land Rover ads11/30/2005: AFA calls off boycott
20 Ford: AFA Boycott12/07/2005: “That is not something that came about in the last week or month. It’s been evolving a long time. This was made as a pure business decision, not as a social statement one way or another. This was not a decision in response to the American Family Association. Jaguar and Land Rover are streamlining their advertising in 2006.” - Mike Moran, Ford Spokesman
21 Ford: AFA Boycott12/10/2005: Ford agrees to meeting with gay stakeholders12/12/2005: Ford announces intent to run corporate ad for all 8 brands in gay media12/15/2005: Rev. Wildmon drafts letter to Chairman Bill Ford03/13/2006: Boycott reinstated03/10/2008: Boycott ceases
22 Comparing Subaru & Ford Japanese vs. American auto manufacturersSizeSales figuresTarget marketsAd budgets
23 Current Dilemma Subaru needs to: retain its competitive advantage using public relations strategies as competition increaseskeep diversifying its IMC efforts in years to come, especially if new gay media outlets are not available for sponsorshipcontinue to grow its consumer base without damaging current stakeholder relationships
24 QuestionsAs competition increases, how can Subaru retain its competitive advantage through corporate communication efforts, particularly to reach gay and lesbian consumers who are unaware of their previous efforts?Is Subaru’s IMC strategy for reaching gay men and lesbians sustainable? Why/why not?How can Subaru diversify its IMC efforts in years to come?
25 QuestionsWhat other niche markets can Subaru pursue that would not alienate its current consumer base?Should Subaru’s initial reluctance to discuss its gay and lesbian marketing efforts be viewed as simply a protection of business intelligence from competitors? Could their strategy be interpreted differently by various stakeholders?
26 QuestionsShould Ford’s Mike Moran and others have handled the company’s initial statements and media questions differently? If yes, how?Consider Moran’s comment that in 2005, Ford had considered pulling its Land Rover and Jaguar ads for 18 months. The companies just started advertising in 2002 and 2003, respectively, which left little time to measure the ads’ impact.Should Moran have elaborated on Land Rover and Jaguar’s plans to pull ads from other media outlets so as to not give the impression that the pull was unique to gay media?
27 QuestionsWhat can Subaru (and other companies) learn from Ford’s handling of the AFA boycott?Based on the experiences of Subaru and Ford, if companies decide to advertise to gay and lesbian consumers, when should they do so?Is advertising to the communities’ alone enough?What sort of IMC strategy should be in place?