How Subaru gained a loyal LGBTQ customer base

It was the mid-1990s, and the sales of Subaru were on a major decline. The marketers had to do something, and fast! When other car manufacturers were going after the same mainstream demographic, Subaru decided to focus on niche marketing. In an unprecedented move, Subaru became the first to pay attention to minorities.subaru car campaign for lgbtq customers A focus group study revealed a particular affinity of Lesbians towards the Subaru car design since they felt ‘it fit with them and was not too flashy.’
This discovery led Subaru to launch an ad campaign focusing primarily on lesbian customers.

Subaru’s design made the LGBTQ community feel ‘it fit with them and was not too flashy.’

This strategy became a huge success, and Subaru’s declining sales came out of their closet, quite literally. The LGBT community became the company’s most profitable customer segment. subaru car for lgbt communityThe unique campaign gained a lot of traction and was covered by many top publications of the time. It helped mitigate the taboo of the LGBTQ community in advertising. Following the example of Subaru, other brands gradually started acknowledging their Gay and Lesbian customer base.

martina navratilova subaru spokesperson
Martina Navratilova, Czechoslovak-American former professional tennis player and and a lesbian, promoting Subaru Cars

It was one of those campaigns that stood the test of time. The rest of the world might have long forgotten about the innovative commercials, but the LGBTQ community never did. Subaru was a lot more than just a car for them; it was a mode of acceptance. Even today, Gay and Lesbian customers choose Subaru over any other vehicle in online polls and focus group studies.
People still joke about lesbian’s affinity towards Subaru as an inexplicable coincidence. Little do they know that Subaru actively cultivated their image as a car for lesbians in a brilliant user change campaign by ad agency Mulryan/ Nash.

Subaru acknowledged the LGBT demographic at a time when no brand dared to and gained a fiercely loyal user base in return.

Do you know of any brands that were successful in revamping their brand image to suit their buyer’s persona? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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