Family Stories: Carmichael Lynch Launches New Subaru Campaign

Randy Hughes
Executive Creative Director Carmichael Lynch

Tell us about the your role in the creation of the work.

As the ECD, my role runs from helping set the strategy with Carmichael Lynch Planning, Account Departments and Subaru of America’s marketing and executive management for the messaging to what creative we move forward with from concept to final production.


Give us an overview of the campaign, what is it about?

An all-new 3-row SUV from Subaru appeals to big families. We worked to tell stories that families would relate to. We told stories that show we get what it means to be in a family with all the challenges and aspirations they have.

Dream Big is a story about the strength of family and time together. And that being connected with others and immersed in all the world has to offer leads to a richer life. Here a capable 3-row helps a mom and dad engage a distracted teen.


Big Day Out speaks to the nature of extended families and how critically important, time together can be for family members. Here we literally see how a day spent with family makes a grandmother feel.


Important Moments is our safety story. That’s an important aspect of a big SUV for families who are bringing loved ones along on a ride. This spot is all about feeling. What it feels like when you are about to have an accident. Time slows down and what is really important to you becomes crystalized in your mind.



Tell us details about the creative brief, what did it ask?

Recognize how life is different in a big family and bring that to life that in an emotional way that shows how the Ascent is made by people who get understand what makes them unique.


Which insight led to the creation of this piece of work?

 There were a number of very literal insights that came through in clinics:

-That there are challenges in big families when kids start to enter different development ages and the mash up of these ages can cause conflict.

-That for families with a lot going on in their lives, time in the car together is often family time.

-Families make up our most precious cargo, which means they value ways to keep them safe.


How did the client initially react to these ideas?

We are now into our 12th year of working very closely with Subaru of America. They are a true partner in the development of our work so rarely are they shocked or surprised. They know we will bring things that try to continue to push to keep the work fresh and they expect it. The work was well received as they could see how it leveraged insights. Really, we’ve developed a sort of short hand with each other.


What was the greatest challenge that you and your team faced during development?

We don’t have unlimited resources so when we’re shooting, if the weather turns we can’t just call a weather day. As it turned out we had a string of days filled with fog and rain so we embraced it and made it part of the story. We felt that the atmosphere of the weather made the story more real and unique — though at the moment we did have a bit of a panic.


What did you enjoy most about seeing this campaign through? Did you learn anything through the experience?

Family stories mean bigger casts and those ensembles have a unique dynamic, which can be very wonderful to take in. It’s very human and it lets you see life through different perspectives which gives you a great appreciation for others. For instance, I was reminded how important family time can be for a grandparent. And I could really relate to seeing a teen begin to leave the family fold and seeing parents work to hang on to just a few more precious moments together.


Where do you see this campaign going in the future?

The basis of our campaign is fundamental to the target audience. I don’t see major shifts but more getting to know families and telling their stories.