SUBARU BREAKS OUTBACK ADS;PAUL HOGAN RETURNS FOR 2ND YEAR

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Subaru of America focuses on its hybrid Outback sport utility wagon in a new ad campaign breaking today.

Australian actor Paul Hogan is back for the second year bucking for Subaru in an integrated blitz from Temerlin McClain, Dallas. It includes three TV spots, at least five print ads, radio, outdoor and a new World Wide Web site (http://www.subaru.com) launching later this month.

TARGETING GROWTH MARKETS

The bulk of the media buy is in spot and cable TV and national magazines, said Tim Mahoney, director of marketing at Subaru.

Subaru, already strong in the Northeast and Northwest, will use spot TV to reach potential growth markets like Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas and Kansas City, Mo. Most of the spot buys are during local news, sports and prime-time shows.

Subaru expects its all-new smaller Outback Sport wagon to appeal to 25-to-34-year-old buyers.

One print ad offers a testimonial from snowboarder Jane Mauser, with a second focusing on rock climbing. The ads will appear in magazines like Shape and Outside, in addition to mass titles like Time and People.

Outback Sport was introduced at the 1996 New York Auto Show as the Impreza Outback Sport because it is built on the same chassis as the Impreza subcompact. But Impreza has been dropped, as has the Legacy name from the larger Outback model.

The Legacy line, including the larger Outback, led Subaru's sales during the first eight months of 1996 with nearly 8,400 units. Subaru says it sold almost 75,000 vehicles in the U.S. from January through August, a 23% jump from a year ago.

UPSCALE VERSION

The larger Outback, billed last year as the "world's first sport utility wagon," has a buyer base between 35 and 44. Outback print ads will appear in Men's Journal and FamilyFun.

New this year is the Outback Limited, aimed at more upscale buyers, and equipped with leather interior and compact disc players. Due to its projected low sales volume of around 8,000 units, the Limited won't have its own ads.

$55 MILLION BUDGET

The car marketer, a wholly owned subsidiary of Japan's Fuji Industries, will spend about the same on advertising this year as in 1995, an estimated $55 million. The campaign will run until early December and resume in mid-January.

In the TV spots, Mr. Hogan is again chased by villains in rival vehicles. The ads show the Outback outperforming the Chevrolet Blazer, Ford Explorer and Jeep Cherokee.

"We tried to preserve the elements of the first campaign that we found to be successful-the movie-action setting and the humor," Mr. Mahoney said.

"This latest advertising for the Outback and Outback Sport reinforces our core concept: these Subaru hybrid vehicles offer the best of both worlds," said Dennis Visich, executive director-client services at Temerlin.

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