Why is Subaru associated with Lesbians?

Posted by

Why is Subaru associated with Lesbians

It is a well-know stereotype that the Subaru (especially the Forester) is seen as a brand for lesbian’s. A lot of people may think this is purely people thinking it is stereotype, but you will be wrong. Subaru embraced this in a 90s ad campaign which was an amazing thing to do as not many other companies would have been willing to accept it back then.

So, where did it all begin? Well, back in the 90s, Subaru were struggling to find a way to promote their AWD products, especially the Forester which had nothing on the JDM life of the Impreza’s etc. They went to their marketing team as a way to hit a more niche market in order to sell some. The marketing team came back with 4 groups of people which they could potentially aim their campaigns at. These were professions which bought about half of America’s sales of Subarus. They were teachers, health care professionals, IT workers and those who thrive outdoors. This seemed good enough, but then they stumbled across a fifth, Lesbians.

Tim Bennett, Subaru’s director of advertising in the 90s/early 2000s said, “When we did the research, we found pockets of the country like Northampton, Massachusetts, and Portland, Oregon, where the head of the household would be a single person—and often a woman.” Through further research by talking to customers, they realised that these woman buying their cars were in fact lesbian. As far as I know, Subaru were the first company to release an ad campaign aimed at lesbains. You heard it here first!

Why is Subaru associated with Lesbians 2

Upon even more research they found that lesbians liked the cars as they were good for outdoor trips, and that they were good for carrying things without being as large as a truck or SUV, as well as them not being too flashy like a Range Rover for example. Which I think most people would agree with, not just lesbians.

Thankfully, society today has come along way since the 90s where the LGBT community would keep their lives relatively private compared to today where it is more widely accepted to be that way inclined.

So, when Subaru pitched these ads, they aimed the AWD capabilities at doctors as they could get to patients no matter the weather as well as outdoor enthusiasts who could travel as they please. As for their lesbian customers, Subaru aimed it as a way to fit their active and relatively low key lifestyle.

In a way, Subaru proved that it is by no means a bad thing to be homosexual and started a sort of domino effect. Later that decade we saw characters on TV such as the show Will and Grace as well as Ellen Degeneres who came out in the late 90s. Other companies saw this as a good way to help the LGBT community as Ikea featured a gay couple in an advert.

But, like everything, there was a significant public backlash. The Japanese company received letters from several groups of people saying they would never buy a Subaru again due to them promoting homosexuality. This proved a very difficult time for Subaru but it didn’t stop them continuing to embrace it. Good on them! What I find brilliant is that after a short while, the marketing team realised that many of those who sent in the letters had never bought a Subaru and wait for it….spelled “Subaru” wrong in the letters!

Why is Subaru associated with Lesbians 3

Some of the campaigns included phrases such as: “Get Out, Stay Out”, “It’s not a choice, it’s the way we’re built”. Other’s showed number plates such as ‘XENA LVR’ which referred to a tv show called Xena: Warrior princess and ‘P TOWN’ which was seen as a popular holiday destination in Massachusetts for lesbians.

Why is Subaru associated with Lesbians 4

While companies like Volkswagen and Ikea showed gay couple’s in adverts, Subaru supported the LGBT community through hosting gay- pride parades, and a ‘Rainbow card’ which instead of cashback gave the money to support the LGBT community.

This just proves that when you put your mind to something and don’t listen to any hate, you will achieve good things. Not many people know just how much Subaru did for the LGBT community. So next time you hear someone comment on Subaru as a ‘lesbians car’, you can tell them that Subaru themselves promoted this stereotype.

Can you think of any other companies who have done something similar?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *