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How the Subaru Became an Adventure Car for the Queer Community

If you’ve spent any time scrolling on the internet, you may have come across the “Subarus are the cars of lesbians” trope. Here is the story of how Subaru became the car of the queer community. 

A Failed 90s Marketing Campaign

Subaru made a name for itself by making all of its models with all-wheel drive, and, like many auto manufacturers during the 1990s, it marketed its cars to young, white, adult men living in the suburbs. Though the original marketing campaign failed, it did help them figure out who was buying their cars, and it wasn’t necessarily young, white, adult men.

It was:

  • Teachers
  • Healthcare professionals
  • IT professionals
  • People who liked the outdoors
  • Lesbians

Lesbians Love Subarus

Many of the consumers in Subaru’s demographic research noted that they were single, head-of-household women, and a large proportion of them were lesbians. Paul Poux, one of the men who conducted the focus group research noted that these women liked Subarus because they could haul gear without being too big or “flashy.” They also appreciated that the cars were dependable.

Image by Subaru

The New (and Improved) Ad Campaign

During the 1990s, Subaru began working with the small ad agency, Mulryan/Nash, a company that specialized in gay marketing. The advertisements started out relatively subtle, with license plates nodding to queer culture, such as their “P-TOWN” license plate—a reference to Provincetown, Massachusetts, a popular gay vacation site.

From there, ads became more tongue-in-cheek with print ads saying things like “At least we’ve got our priorities straight” and “It’s not a choice. It’s the way we’re built.”

Image by Subaru

Queer Culture and the Outdoors

Unfortunately, it can be daunting, even scary for members of the LGBTQ+ community to travel. Organizations like the Venture Out Project seek to change this by planning vacations to help build a community for queer and trans individuals who want to get outdoors more often. 

Members of the LGBTQ+ community are also underrepresented in outdoor marketing campaigns, according to a 2019 study conducted by REI. Subaru was one of the first brands to openly support the queer community, and they reaped the benefits of these decisions by consistently being named a top car by gay consumers. 

Subarus are well-loved by many consumers of all sexual orientations because of their safety features and their fuel efficiency, which make them an excellent choice for road trips and other outdoor adventures. More recent models also have better off-roading abilities, making them all-terrain compatible without compromising safety.

Are Subarus your car of choice for outdoor adventures? Tell us in the comments.

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  1. Pingback: How the Subaru Turned an Journey Automobile for the Queer Group - Make Your Camping trip easy !

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