Unleashing a Wilderness Beast in Canada with Subaru and Zulu Alpha Kilo | #BehindTheIdea

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With an integrated multi-media approach, Zulu Alpha Kilo and Subaru Canada partnered to celebrate the launch of the Wilderness edition trim line in Canada with a spectacular spot to cut through the competition and stand out from the crowd.

The campaign depicts an Outback Wilderness edition as an untamed beast being returned to its natural habitat via an helicopter. The campaign spans across several channels, from OOH to Digital, TV and Print, with the aim to "make an entrance that people will remember" – in the words of Subaru Senior Vice President of Sales, Marketing and Brand Don Durst.

With such inspiring work, top Creativepool ranked agency Zulu Alpha Kilo surprises the team here once more with incredible production value and a top-notch campaign which we simply couldn't help but enquire about. Today we are getting Behind the Idea thanks to a chat with Wain Choi, Executive Creative Director at Zulu Alpha Kilo.


What was the brief?

To introduce a new breed of Subaru – The Outback Wilderness. This Outback represents the first of many Subaru SUVs to wear this badge of honour. Now is the time for Wilderness to show that Subaru can take it to the next level.  Don’t say it, show it.

How did the initial pitch/brainstorming phase go?

We all agreed that we needed to demonstrate its full capability. It couldn’t be yet another SUV ad filled with meaningless driving footage. We also had to compliment the engineers and show that this vehicle has a soul. So anything overly ad-like was quickly torched (we all know how viewers are quick to hit skip on those ads). So it came down to us saying no a whole lot more than yes. A great process for arriving at where we did.


Tell us more about the concept. How did it come to life, and why was it the right choice?

We began exploring every avenue of it being an animal. We then added the layer of how it first needed to escape the city in order to arrive in wild.  Seeing footage of a Rhino being transported in Africa helped us create the necessary tension. Once back in its natural habitat it could then run free. So treating it as an animal, a rare beast, became the overriding motivation that led to our call to “Set it Free”. Also, once seen as an animal, viewers could now see it as more than a car. 

What was the production process like? What was the biggest challenge?

Finding a production house that could acheive this (safely) in camera was paramount. What followed was finding directors whose back yard was literally the wilderness. We were absolutely blown away by the amount of suitable directors and production houses in Canada who could pull it off in a meaningful way. Even with tight deadlines we were entirely spoilt for choice. We chose The Sherpas who are represented by Animals. We could not have wished for better collaboration with Eric and Dave who overdelivered on delivering their vision.


What is one funny or notable thing that happened during the production of the campaign?

We kicked off with a bang and made some noise on Twitter. For reasons of safety, transport Canada insisted we fly our Outback Wilderness out over English bay at five am in the morning. The large helicopter transporting the Wilderness woke up the City.  Sorry Vancouver, this was the safest time.  Here are a few interesting quotes: “This is Jeff Bezos gets to work.” Quote Tesla – Quote Uber quote “engineer quote”

What’s the main message of the campaign and why does it matter?

This is the one vehicle that truly belongs in the wilderness, not in the city.  It matters because it distances Subaru from all the wannabes. 


What is one unique aspect of the campaign?

What a great way to start a spot – a vehicle being airlifted by a helicopter. We then kept the energy from top to tail to communicate that this is one special beast.  

How long did it take from inception to delivery?

We had a tight turnaround so we were on air within two months of our first presentation to Subaru’s executive committee. The client loved it right away (thank God). Sometimes a tight deadline keeps you focused.


What do you hope it achieves for the brand?

Our hope is for more consumers to consider this Subaru based on its unbelievable capability. What better way to get outta the city? We showed it rather than say it. 

Credit list for the campaign?

Agency: Zulu Alpha Kilo
Chief Creative Officer: Zak Mroueh
Executive Creative Director: Wain Choi
CD/Writer: Jonathan Smith
CD/Art Director: Patrick Shing   
Art Directors: Sarah Quinto, Riley Keen
Writers: Julia Forrester, Laura Biggar
Agency Producer: Revital Grunberg
Account Team: David Tremblay, Maura Kelly, Hayley Blackmore
Strategic Planner: Tim Hopkins, Carly Miller

Client: Subaru Canada
Clients: Don, Durst Ted Lalka, Cynthia Bouris, Gary Sappleton, Curtis Lang

Media Agency: OMD
Media Agency Planner: Michelle Jairam, Natasha Cappelli, Cobi Grein 

Production House: ANIMALS
Directors: Sherpas Cinema: Eric Crosland / Dave Mossop
Production House Executive Producers: Miriana DiQuinzio, Chris Hutsul
Production House Line Producers: Andréa Fehsenfeld, Liam Benstead
Director of Photography: Eric Crosland / Dave Mossop
Video Post Facility / Editing Company: Zulubot
Editors: Brian Noon, Max Lawlor
Compositors / Online: Justin Lee, Felipe Chaparro
Zulubot Post Producer:  Sarah Dayus, Mariya Guzova
Colourist: Wade Odlum, Alter Ego
Alter Ego Post Producers: Producer - Spencer Butt, 
Executive Producer: Hilda Pereira
Music House: Vapor Music
Audio Director:  Ted Rosnick
Voice Director:  Dustin Anstey 
Executive Producer: Kailee Nowosad
Engineer: Julian Rudd


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