The idea is simple: place the newest model of the Subaru Legacy in an area filled with foot traffic, attach a “love meter” and tell people they are free to touch the car all over. This is Subaru’s new plan to attract buyers to the latest Subaru Legacy.
Some have said this is a far cry from traditional selling. Automakers usually pound consumers with information about power, roominess, technology, performance and status. Automakers tout factory incentives, buying plans and zero percent down payments. That’s the way it usually works; it’s true. The problem is that consumers aren’t shopping for new cars the way they used to.
The 2010 Subaru Legacy is being sold with love instead. Even though some skeptics called it a silly stunt, the “love meter” worked. Consumers love interactive media; it’s exciting and interesting and immediately grabs attention.
Kevin Mayer, director of marketing at Subaru, says, “What’s neat about the love meter is that people interacted with the car in an engaging way, learning about things that are tough to market to people.”
Information is easy to convey on television. Subaru feels comfortable relaying information about fuel economy, power and quality in the traditional media venues, but it was looking for a way to provide potential buyers a more “sensual” experience.
Carmichael Lynch, the Minneapolis ad agency for Subaru, concocted the idea of the love meter, and Subaru tried it out in three different cities about a month ago.
In Chicago, New York and Los Angeles, they put the new Subaru Legacy on very busy street corners attached to the “love meter”. A dial assembly was attached to the top of an eight-foot pole, with a moving needle that showed red as the needle moved clockwise. The area to the extreme right of the dial was colored red and signified “true love.”
Sensors were attached to various locations on the cars, and when people touched an area attached to one, the needle moved into the red zone. With each touch, an LED screen also gave short bits of information on the Legacy’s safety, balance, performance and drive experience.
By-passers ran their hands over the cars, and seemed compelled to keep going. Once the needle read “love” for the first time, many continued until they had touched the entire car, even if they’d just seen someone else do the same thing.
In all, around 750,000 people saw the Legacy and interacted with it. Attendance was taken by the guards hired to watch over the love meter/Legacy displays.
Mayer said, “We were really happy with the amount of people who saw it and the feedback we’re receiving. It did its job very well.”