Meet the Barkleys

Subaru wants you to meet the Barkleys: Augie, Stevie, Sadie and Sebastian are the stars of the Subaru’s ad campaign and they’re not your average family. No, the Barkleys are a bit ruff-er around the edges—they’re dogs.

Subaru is not the first company to feature our four-legged friends at the wheel—brands like Budweiser and Carfax have used this idea before—nor is this the first time that they’ve done it. The difference is that this time Subaru is set on making pets a priority. The company offers a variety of branded pet products on their website, from the usual items like leashes, collars and Frisbees to the less expected, like a pet first-aid kit and a waterproof orthopedic pet bed. Their commitment goes beyond clever advertising and effective marketing; this car company understands that pets are a part of the family.

You see, the folks at Subaru aren’t just dog lovers who like to see Spaniels in their cute, blue scarves, they are also advocates for pet safety in cars. In addition to listing the ASPCA and Pilots and Paws as two of the many charities they work with, in 2013 Subaru also partnered with the Center for Pet Safety on a harness study. While many car ads talk about the safety of the human passengers (much like Bruce Willis did for Honda during the Super Bowl on Sunday), I can’t recall a time when I’ve heard pets mentioned. By making the Barkleys a full family, rather than just one pet, they’re saying that it is equally important for all passengers—kids and canines alike—to benefit from passenger safety.

So, when Subaru says their slogan, “Dog tested. Dog approved.” they mean it.