Subaru has been the Puppy Bowl’s official auto sponsor for the past six years

Subaru has shown a history of eschewing the commercial vortex that is the Super Bowl in favor of its infinitely more adorable alter ego, the Puppy Bowl. So for the sixth straight year, Subaru will serve as the official auto sponsor of Puppy Bowl XII, which will be held on the same day as Super Bowl 50 (February 7, 2016) on the Animal Channel. This year, the Japanese automaker will air five commercials as part of its new "Dog Tested. Dog Approved." campaign.

The ads revolve around the exploits of a family of Labradors and Golden Retrievers, collectively known as the Barkleys. Much like their human counterparts, the Barkleys will deal with the nuances of family life, including trying to put the kiddos to sleep, dealing with rough trips to the salon, and coping with other canine drivers. In the process, the commercials touch on why the company has established itself as the brand of choice for car owners who have pets.

Subaru has always been proud of carrying that pet-friendly label to its name and these ads, coupled with its continuing presence in the Puppy Bowl, shows how far the company will go to show viewers how in touch it is with the importance of being recognized for its love of the domesticated animal world.

All five commercials can now be viewed in their entirety. You can check them out here or visit Subaru of America’s official YouTube channel.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

Why it matters

As an animal lover myself, this is the kind of campaign that I can really get behind. I’m happy that Subaru continues to take this approach instead of joining in on the advertising madness during Super Bowl.

From a personal perspective, Subaru’s presence in the Puppy Bowl touches on the softer side of human nature, especially for those who have pets and treat them as part of their families. For a car brand to show that it cares just as much for these animals as it does for its customers is indicative of something that can’t be quantified by the number of people who watch these ads. It goes straight to the heart of the consumer, knowing that Subaru is a brand that isn’t shy about showing its love for animals. That’s something that really strikes a chord with a lot of people, myself included.

From a business perspective, it’s also a smart move because Subaru effectively steers clear from the oftentimes cutthroat and over-the-top competitive nature of Super Bowl ads. While so many companies in numerous industries fight for the so-called “commercials” bargain rights, Subaru is happy to leave that to everybody else and concentrate on becoming one of the biggest presences in the Puppy Bowl. Granted, the Puppy Bowl isn’t as big as the Super Bowl, but if you think about how the brand can attach itself to viewers of the Animal Planet while having less competition for attention, it’s a sound strategy. The research-backed statistic of so many car owners having pets of their own only adds to the brilliance of this move.

I’ve seen all five commercials and I can tell you that all of them are fantastic in their own unique way. My personal favorite is “Bad Hair Day” because of how funny it is when we find ourselves in a similar situation. I also like “Phone Navigation” because of how it was able to spoof the real-world trouble of voice-recognition and “Puppy” because a lot of us have been in that situation before. I, for one, can definitely relate to it.

Subaru Legacy

2015 - 2017 Subaru Legacy High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the Subaru Legacy here.

Kirby Garlitos
Automotive Aftermarket Expert -
Kirby’s first exposure into the world of automobiles happened when he caught Knight Rider on television as a five-year old boy. David Hasselhoff didn’t leave much of an impression on him (that happened later on in Baywatch), but KITT certainly did. To this day, Kirby remains convinced that he will one day own a car with the same ‘spirit’ as the original KITT (not the 2008 monstrosity). He doesn't know when that will be, but until then, he’s committed to expressing his love for KITT, and all cars for that matter, here at TopSpeed.  Read More
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