Subaru builds vehicles that “fit any lifestyle, from the adventurer wanting to escape the city to the weekend urbanite just cruising around town”. In line with this statement, the American carmaker has launched an influencer marketing campaign to appeal to a diverse audience in a broad digital rollout.
20 Influencers behind the wheels of the #MeetAnOwner campaign
If you are considering a car purchase, naturally, you seek reviews from existing owners and you are not as receptive to traditional advertising as you are to third-party recommendations. Leveraging this understanding of customer behavior, in 2017 Subaru launched its “Meet an Owner” influencer marketing campaign and connected potential buyers with loyal Subaru owners who loved their cars.
Subaru teamed up with 20 YouTube and Instagram influencers across various categories ranging from fitness to art. Each influencer created unique pieces of content centered around a Subaru car, aiming to raise brand awareness, and improve brand sentiment.
The campaign, which accompanied the launch of the company’s 2017 Impreza vehicle, focused on positioning Subaru as a brand suitable for any adventure and sought out a range of bold, adventurous influencers to help get the message across to a diverse target audience. They all infused their authentic voice into the content, retaining their own style. The posts included the campaign’s #MeetAnOwner hashtag and were shared on all popular social media platforms, including Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
Among the most successful campaign posts were that of magician Zach King who made two Instagram videos that featured a Subaru car and eye-catching tricks. In his first sponsored post, King created an illusion where a three-piece cut out of a car was replaced by a real one to impress the influencer’s date.
Zack’s second post aimed to illustrate a more practical advantage of Subaru car. In the video, viewed, almost 7.5 million times, the illusionist takes out a full-sized extension ladder from the car’s trunk. The two posts have garnered over 1.6m likes and 7,000 comments, generating a 9% engagement rate.
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What a wild ride! ✈️ Helping my friend out of a sticky situation. @aaronsanimals should know not to fly so close to the trees 🌳 Somehow, this happens way too often and I'm the one who bails him out. Luckily, I always come prepared. #DontTryThisAtHome #MeetAnOwner like me and other real @Subaru_USA owners on MeetAnOwner.com #ad
Shaun Todd McBride, better known as Shonduras, also contributed to Subaru’s campaign. The influencer created four Instagram posts and a five-part YouTube series called, “Our cool Subaru car and cool things we do with it.” which has promoted Subaru as family-friendly car. The five YouTube videos, which feature some fun doodles, have been viewed 11.8 million times and generated a 6% engagement rate, while the Instagram posts amassed 31,000 likes and 292 comments for an engagement rate of 7.1%.
Subaru takes a backseat as users drive content
Apart from the content created by influencers and shared on social media platforms, Subaru ran a campaign with three TV spots and a user-generated content website. MeetAnOwner.com features stories from influencers, brand ambassadors and actual Subaru owners. The website could also be used for communication between existing and prospective owners, where questions could be placed and answered first-hand.
“…[T]he owners on Meet an Owner are Subaru Ambassadors or Sponsored Endorser. An Ambassador is someone who owns multiple Subaru vehicles, has a passion for the brand, and likes sharing that passion with the world. They are not paid for their opinions, and we do not attempt to alter their profiles, posts, or comments. They have advocated on behalf of Subaru in the past, but they are completely free to speak their mind, and we’re serious about letting the communications between users and owners be completely genuine and free of Subaru influence,” the company explains in the site’s “About” section. “Sponsored Endorsers are real owners with a passionate about the brand who are being paid for the content they create.”
Campaign Results and Key Takeaways
The #MeetanOwner campaign as a whole generated over 1.9 million likes and 9,000 comments through 58 sponsored posts on Instagram, with an average engagement rate of 9%, Mediakix’ analysis shows. Additionally, it generated nearly 2.5 million views and 73,000 likes on YouTube with an average engagement rate of 5%.
The success of Subaru’s #MeetanOwner campaign demonstrates a brand’s ability to reach a diverse audience with the help of social media. Notably, influencers involved kept their own style for the posts, thus even the sponsored content contributed to the authentic flavor of the campaign. Additionally, the dedicated #MeetanOwner hashtag made it easy for users to follow the campaign and encouraged them to take part in it, showcasing their own Subaru story and embracing the emotional aspect of car buying rather than key selling points like safety features, horsepower and fuel economy.