Measuring the Cultural Fluency of Ads: Subaru

CultureRate:Ad and CultureRate:Brand are major initiatives that provide a research solution to brands’ mounting need for comprehensive, ongoing analysis of the cultural fluency of branding and advertising.

Download an excerpt of the study.

In this CultureRate:Ad study we had the opportunity to test a recent ad by Subaru called “Girls’ Trip,” released in September 2020.

In this video, a granddaughter and her grandmother hit the road in their Subaru  for  a “girls’ trip.” They enjoy the journey together and have fun along the way by dancing in the car and stopping for milkshakes. Grandma even gets the number from a cute guy at the gas station for her granddaughter. Once they arrive back home, the video shows Grandma’s “old school” Subaru parked in the driveway, a nod to the brand’s reliability. Grandma remarks with pride how her granddaughter has taken after her by getting her own (newer) Subaru.

This ad struck a joyful, relatable, and authentic tone, making it a hit with consumers.

This ad was also one of the highest-performing auto ads of the set, ranking within the top two for each racial/ethnic consumer segment. The ad resonated with three out of four consumer segments – Hispanic, Black, and White. This means that the ad had an A-CFQ (Ad Cultural Fluency Quotient) score of 75 or higher for each of those segments. Even more, the A-CFQ score was just on the cusp of the resonance threshold for the Asian consumer segment.

According to consumers, the top performing features of this ad were its characters and story.

The two women in the ad had a close, heartwarming bond. They look and act authentically and viewers responded positively. Plus, their relationship helps convey the brand’s tagline: “Love is what makes Subaru, Subaru.”

The ad’s heartwarming tone resulted in high rates of positive emotions across segments, like happiness, excitement, and pride. In particular, Subaru’s ad outperforms most auto ads in evoking happiness. 56% of viewers said the Subaru’s ad made them feel happy, compared to the automotive ad norm of just 34%.

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