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New Subaru ad promotes Black and Deaf inclusivity, targets nature-lovers

While "A Beautiful Silence" directly promotes the brand's support for national parks, it indirectly ties into a broader movement to challenge diversity norms

Subaru has released a new advertisement celebrating nature and promoting its partnership with the National Park Foundation.

The emotional, minute-long video, titled “A Beautiful Silence,” features a father and son driving their Subaru Forester through Yosemite National Park on their way to a hiking trail with a scenic view of a waterfall. The son is played by 10-year-old Emmy-nominated actor Keivonn Woodard, who played Sam on HBO’s The Last Of Us series. Woodard is also deaf, which is why the pair communicate using American Sign Language (ASL) throughout the advertisement. In a statement, Alan Bethke, vice president of marketing for Subaru of America, wrote: “The outdoors are for everyone, and whether it’s a trip to a national park or a walk in the woods, we believe everyone should have the opportunity to experience its beauty.”

While the Subaru advertisement and its associated marketing materials focus on the beauty of nature and the company’s association with the National Park Foundation, the inclusion of both Black and Deaf communities in the video relates to a broader movement among car manufacturers to rectify the industry’s historical lack of diversity. For instance, Stellantis recently announced its first partnership with a Black-focused ad agency, TKT & Associates. Additionally, General Motors and Toyota earned top marks in 2022’s annual Automotive Diversity Scorecard published by Rainbow PUSH and the Citizenship Education Fund. Last year was also the first in which the scorecard, which includes employment and advertising in its considerations, saw zero “red grades,” meaning all featured companies had made a significant improvements since the study’s first year in 2012.

However, while Subaru and other brands should be applauded for their efforts, there is still much to be desired from the industry as a whole, not only in the way it interacts with racial minorities and disabled communities but with other groups as well. For example, a Deloitte study published in 2020 found that women and men who work in the car business share very different views on how female employees are treated. While 64% of male respondents believed the industry had become more hospitable for female professionals, only 39% of women agreed. Conversely, only 13% of men believed treatment towards women had worsened compared to 35% of women, a sharp uptick in concern from the years before.

Nevertheless, the automotive industry has become substantially more cognizant of the negative ways underrepresented groups are treated and perceived, as well as its power to enact change on a broader scale. “A Beautiful Silence” is simply the latest in a series of diversity-minded initiatives. Damon Lester, who served as the president of the National Association of Minority Automobile Dealers (NAMAD) for two decades, noted that OEMs such as Nissan were making noticeable efforts to raise more minority automotive workers into positions of leadership while speaking with Inside Automotive host Jim Fitzpatrick. “They wanted to increase the inclusion and diversify the minority networks, so they’ve been doing great,” he stated. Although programs such as this may be more effective at challenging racism, sexism or ableism, Subaru and other brands can still make a positive impact by continuing to include diverse communities in their marketing.

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Colin Velez
Colin Velez
Colin Velez is a staff writer/reporter for CBT News. After obtaining his bachelor’s in Communication from Kennesaw State University in 2018, he kicked off his writing career by developing marketing and public relations material for various industries, including travel and fashion. Throughout the next four years, he developed a love for working with journalists and other content creators, and his passion eventually led him to his current position. Today, Colin writes news content and coordinates stories with auto-industry insiders and entrepreneurs throughout the U.S.

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