|A mother and daughter release a bunny into the woods.
Animal activists charge that the Subaru TV spot, which shows a mother and daughter trying to do a good deed for a rabbit, actually depicts an inhumane act and should be pulled from the air.
A coalition of pro-rabbit groups including organizations such as the House Rabbit Society, friendsofrabbits.org and Michigan Rabbit Rescue are using the Internet to summon animal rights activists across the country to "mount an all-out campaign" urging Subaru to kill the commercial.
Spot to be changed
A Subaru spokesman,
Created by Interpublic Group of Cos.' Temerlin McClain, Dallas, as a national ad for the Forester sport utility vehicle, the spot shows a mother and young daughter leaving a school and driving a boxed rabbit into a lush woodland area. After seeing a wild rabbit run across the road, the two stop the car and lovingly release their rabbit into the wild.
Animal rights groups claim the ad shows a domestic rabbit and that the release of such a domesticated animal into the wild is "a death sentence."
Reference materials from the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals warn that
|The Subaru rabbit in question.
Form letter sent out
In response to the animal rights' complaints, Subaru sent out electronic and hard-copy form letters from Vice President of Marketing Mark Darling. AdAge.com has obtained a copy of the letter, which says the spot, entitled "Outside the Box," aims to show the "admirable" release of a wild cottontail and in no way condones the release of domestic animals into the wild.
The letter goes on to say that Subaru wants to "clarify the unintended conclusion drawn from the commercial to avoid any such confusion in the future." The letter also states the marketer "has long been a friend of the environment and related causes" and is a financial supporter of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
The spot broke June 3, marking Subaru's return to national broadcast network TV for the first time since 1997. The new campaign, which is launching the redone 2003 Forester, introduces the brand's new umbrella tag "When you get it, you get it." The line refers to owners' unique approach to life as they go their own way using Subaru's all-wheel drive.
The marketer spent $121 million in measured media in 2001, according to Taylor Nelson Sofres' CMR.