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Subaru Forester Pinewood Derby Commercial

Posted on 18 February 2009 by Editor


While the kids aren’t wearing Cub Scout Uniforms, Subaru has a commercial that features a Pinewood Derby Race.

This video was removed from YouTube 2/1/2012. Let us know if you find it agian!

Isn’t nice when honest virtues win…

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44 Comments For This Post

  1. Josh Says:

    Dang. It’s already been removed. I guess Subaru didn’t want people to watch their commercial?

  2. moderation Says:

    Did anyone notice that the boys are wearing Brownie (i.e. Girl Scouts of America) vests?

  3. Dan Says:

    Yikes, I’m working on finding a different video.

    I’m sure Subaru didn’t want to / couldn’t get permission for real Cub Scouts to be in the video due to licensing restrictions. Instead they just made uniforms that wouldn’t be confused with real Cub Scouts to wear, hence the brown vests.

  4. Bolman Deal Says:

    The commercial is running a lot on Food Network. My wife speculates that Subaru did not want a close association with BSA because of the 3 Gs — not PC enough.

  5. Sam Says:

    The vests are not Cub Scout vests—they are Girl Scout BROWNIE vests. Anyone involved with either organization is surely reported this as WAY, WAY wrong. Poor little boys with girlie vests on…..no wonder they took it off the web.

  6. Donna Says:

    I’m with Sam. As a former Girl scout and Cub scout leader since 1997, I recognized the Brownie uniform right off the bat. I’ve been trying to find the commercial to show my husband (Cub master and Pinewood Chair). Seems a generic outfit would have been better than dressing them as girls.

  7. ABE Says:

    Okay people, the national organization is Girl Scouts of the USA and is it really *that* insulting to 8-year old masculinity to be “dressed as girls?” Is wearing one item of clothing that is “supposed” to be worn by the other half of the human population that insulting, seriously?

  8. eaglemom Says:

    Noticed the “brownie” vests right away. Someone didn’t do their homework. Wonder how much Subaru paid for this ad? Every time I see the ad I’m thinking of those vests and not what product they’re actually advertising.

  9. mike Says:

    Wow, this is taken from my life story. Except that in my case it was the pine rocket ship derby. I showed up with a very boxy balsa wood rocket ship that I made all by myself (divorced parents, mom afraid of exacto knives) and got made fun of. All the other rockets were clearly made by the dads and were perfectly round and aerodynamic. But I went home with the trophy. I think it was because mine was just heavy enough to weigh down the string so it actually created less drag when the propeller thrusted it forward. My mom, the den mother, was so happy for me.
    It was very strange sitting there watching the commercial. AND I DRIVE AN OUTBACK!

  10. Angie Says:

    Sorry, I missed the whole “vest thing” while cheering for the emphasis on “honest virtues” winning…but I forget the society I’m living in today is often too absorbed with pride, prejudice, and a whole host of other less than virtuous characteristics, to recognize genuine positive and wholesome virtue when they see it, qualities like honesty for instance.

  11. Mike Check Says:

    The GSA and BSA should not be used to sell cars. Especially in this sick way!

  12. Jane Says:

    I just saw this ad TODAY! April 20th, 2009 -

  13. DSHAWNTAY Says:

    Too bad the commerical is not realistic. No way this car actually wins the race! I love helping my son build a winning car! And there is nothing wrong with this!

  14. Mick Says:

    I’m certain the ACLU and NAACP would be throwing a fit if they had been used to sell cars in this manner. The scouts are over a hundred years old and need to be respected.

  15. Joyce Says:

    I really liked this commercial. In regards to the vest, I am from Canada and that is what the youngest group of Scouts (Beavers) wear, although normally it has crests sewn on it. So when I first saw the commercial, I thought it was filmed in Canada. Scouting can be co-ed in Canada.

  16. Tara Says:

    I was so mad at this ad that I emailed Subaru. I’d rather see the kids in a gerenic t-shirt than them try to pretend like no one would notice. (How’s that for honest virtues?)

    The response I got today:

    Thank you for your comments about our recently-aired Subaru Forester television commercial.

    As you may know, throughout the United States there are other organizations for boys that hold wooden-car race events. While those associated with scouting may be the most well known, there are other groups that sanction similar events. Our advertisement is intended to portray that the boys are part of a youth organization and for this reason we selected generic uniforms rather than a specific one.

    We appreciate that you took the time to contact us and we value your comments.

    Um, no you didn’t. You selected a pretty specific (wrong) uniform. But I agree with Mike Check. There’s a reason two of the strongest youth organizations in the country didn’t want to back your commercial.

  17. tina Says:

    thank you! i’m glad others feel the way i do about the brownie vests on boys! what are the ad people at subaru thinking!!!! i don’t listen to what the announcer is saying because i’m too hung on them using the wrong vest!

  18. Marilyn Correia Says:

    I’m curious who in the ad agency came up with this idea. A very similar event happened to our son. In the fall of 1979 we were living in Averill Pk, NY. As a military family, we moved frequently and were in the area for 18 months of grad school. Our son’s winning car, which he designed, built (with minimal assistance from his dad with the sawing) and painted himself, was a little lopsided and the paint job was mediocre. But it was very similar to the car in the ad. The weight of the car being exact and the fact that he didn’t damage it playing with it between heats probably got him the win. He is now 37 years old and I think he still has the car…at least he did a few years ago. I just wondered if the advertiser was someone we knew back then.

  19. Deb Says:

    Not only is it a Brownie vest, but it has Girl Scout IPP’s and Cub Scout patches. I guess Subaru figured if they offended everyone, they could get away from paying licensing fees. Just think what great publicity for BSA AND Subaru, if they chose to make a sizable donation and use a correct boy’s uniform!?! Scout leaders all over the country would be looking at Subaru’s right now. What a way to screw the pooch.

  20. michael Says:

    can anyone tell me a website that I can watch the video? or post a link?

  21. Dan Says:

    It comes and goes online. If I find it online again I update the post.

  22. Bud Says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0_BfTr4ShMs

  23. Kristie Says:

    Perhaps this is an act of pure marketing genius. After all, would there be nearly as much buzz about a Subaru commercial without such a blatant “error?” Personally, I’d never thought twice about one of their ads until I saw this one, but I have since mentioned this ad–and the name “Subaru”–to nearly every scouting mom in the neighborhood. Not a bad viral tactic (although it still doesn’t make me want to run out and buy one of their cars).

  24. Dan Says:

    Video updated! Thanks to Bud!

  25. Marilyn Says:

    I can’t get over how many people were “offended” by the use/style of the uniforms in this commercial!! WAY too much griping!. What a bunch of pansies. We have war, lost jobs, and kids that don’t seem to be learning much in school…and this is what gets your panties in a knot? Get a life!

  26. Insight Says:

    People are easily blinded by false issues while societies are existing in a time where honest virture is a fading concept in its true sense.

  27. abc123 Says:

    Get a life people, is right! Its a commercial. Why are you over analyzing such details?

    Someone spent months of their time and energy creating this spot and all you can do is pick at the vest the boys are wearing?! Dont you think this was a major discussion point in the production? They dont go into this without weighing the pros and cons of every aspect of the entire 30 seconds. What would you have had them wearing? Blue vests? Nope that would make the Campfire Girls or the Boy Scouts mad. How about Green vests? Oh, no then the Girl Scouts would be writing letters. Or, should they have put them in a generic white tee shirt as a previous post recommended? Yes, something completely boring and unidentifiable would do wonders for the art direction of the set.
    The people complaining have no idea what goes into making a TV commercial.

    Look at the forest, not the trees. Its a lovely commercial. It is shot well, the concept is clean and clear and I think they did a wonderful job portraying a honest American pastime.

    Take a deep breathe, relax, hit the mute button and stop writing angry letters to companies about their advertisements.

  28. Scout Mom Says:

    I saw this commercial on television yesterday. I was a Girl Scout leader for several years and now my son is a Boy Scout. In my opinion, this commercial insults both Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts. It assumes the arrogant stance that the viewer is either stupid or apathetic. It refuses to acknowledge Boy Scouts of America while using some Scout virtues to sell automobiles. Subaru needs to make a public apology and a generous financial contribution to both Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts.

  29. Scout Mom Says:

    I was a Girl Scout leader for 9 years. I know a Brownie vest with Try-It patches when I see one. My son is now First Class in Boy Scouts. I saw the commercial on television yesterday, then sent an email to Subaru. Here’s the reply I received this morning:

    Thank you for your comments about our recently-aired Subaru Forester television commercial.

    We appreciate you bringing your concerns with this commercial to our attention. Your message has been documented in our Customer/Dealer Services database. We document such feedback to continually track, review and consider the performance of our products and services, always with the intentions of improving upon them.

    Throughout the United States, there are other organizations for boys that hold wooden-car race events, such as the WIRL, Awana, Christian Service Brigade, Royal Ambassadors, Royal Rangers, Scouts Canada(some competitions are held stateside in US), and the YMCA to name a few. While those associated with scouting may be the most well known, these other groups sanction similar events. Our advertisement is intended to portray that the boys are part of a youth organization in general and not specific to any one group. As for the uniforms, they are generic uniforms rather than specific uniforms. The vests are not Brownie vests. Rather, they are generic vests with generic badges.

    We appreciate that you took the time to contact us and we value your comments.

  30. Paul G Says:

    As a former Cub Scout leader and and Eagle Scout who’s son is also an Eagle Scout I didn’t even notice the uniforms. What bothered me was the fact that the Pinewood Derby cars are supposed to be a father and son project. Not all father, and not all son. I was insulted that we were supposed to feel that this guy who neglected working with his son was doing something so great. Non participation by parents is not a good thing.

  31. Kapt Z Says:

    I’ve seen this commercial numerous times over the past few months and until I read a column about it today I had no idea the brouhaha that it was causing. Honestly, I still have no idea what the brouhaha is about.

    As a former Cub Scout I was not offended.
    As a former Boy Scout I was not offended.
    As a Eagle Scout I am not offended.
    As a Dad I am not offended.
    Heck, even as a former Pinewood Derby kid I was not offended.

    The ad did bring back great memories though. Dad ‘helped’ me build my cars as well- he took me to the basement, he showed me the tools I needed, showed me how to use them and then he went back upstairs. Teaching me self-reliance or neglecting me? 1974 or 2009??

    I’ve always thought that the best lessons Scouting taught me were about self-reliance and responsibilty. To paraphrase my old scoutmaster, “If you get into trouble in the woods, Mama and Dada ain’t gonna be there to cover your posterior. You better darn well learn how to do it yourself.” In that respect I have to disagree with Paul G. When I was in Boy Scouts, non-participation by parents WAS THE WHOLE POINT. How are you supposed to learn to handle yourself if your parents are right over there watching you?

  32. Paul G Says:

    Couldn’t agree more about the Boys Scout part and learning self reliance. Sounds like you had the same old scoutmaster as I did.

    But these are Cub Scout age kids that need a little more guidance than just “Do your best.” My dad and I had wonderful hours working on those cars and so did my son and I. Each year my dad was less involved as I grew and learned.

    And I’m sorry but I do take offense that those times are somehow portrayed as not “honest virtues” just to sell a car.

  33. Kapt Z Says:

    I guess, for me, the ad did what it obviously was trying to do. It made me remember those kids who showed up with cars that looked like they were built by the designers for Ferrari’s Formula One team.

    We all remember those kids. The ad was lumping the rest of us in the ‘honest virtues’ cart. But, hey if you’re offended, you’re offended. That’s OK.

    With sex selling practically everything else in the media I was charmed that a 30sec spot of something ‘wholesome’ actually struck a cord in me.

    That, and the fact I actually own a Subaru Forester just like the one in the ad. Great car, by the way.

  34. Paul G Says:

    Your right, it’s a cute commercial. It just pushed different buttons for me. I was a Den Leader and my father a Cub Master and I guess it just made me remember the kids that we or other fathers helped with their cars that either didn’t have fathers or had ones who just plain didn’t care.

    I just read too deep I guess. I need to lighten up. I think I’ll go fishing!

    Beleive me, I do remember the Ferraris. We used to have a seperate unofficial event just for fathers and other family members who wanted to build thier own.

    I may just go test drive one of those Foresters!!!!!

  35. Kapt Z Says:

    Heck, pal we ALL need to lighten up! Maybe the world would turn a little slower then and we’d all find more time for fishing.

    Cheers!

  36. Gunner Says:

    That boy is going to be scarred for life….

    Boys will be girls, and girls will be boys.
    –The Kinks

  37. ScoutAbout Says:

    Around the campfire at our recent pack family campout we asked new families why they had joined cub scouts. SEVERAL of them said they saw the car commercial with the wooden car race and it sparked good memories and better values. They knew the actors were not real scouts, they knew the scouts did not drive Subarus, and they were reminded that there was a program out there that emphasized good old fashioned values and fun. Kudos to Subaru for helping my recruiting effort.

  38. Ken Miner Says:

    Actually I sent an email expressing my disappointment as well about the uniform they choose. Only to have to release my own ethnocentric (wanting to see all things American) mistake when I read up on “Japanese Scouting Uniforms” – the boys are appropriately dressed for “Japanese Beaver Scouts” (equivalent to our Tiger Cubs). I can say now that I’m not proud of my arrogance – the commercial was great! It’s too bad I viewed it with my cultural binders on….

    “The Japanese Scout uniform consists of a brown vest, brown pants with light blue pocket, and light blue cap for Beaver Scouts; a blue shirt, pants, and cap for Cub Scouts; khaki with green line edge shirt and pants, and a green beret for Boy Scouts; and a khaki shirt and pants, and green beret for Venture, Rover, and adult Scouts.”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scout_Association_of_Japan

  39. CubbinIt Says:

    Ok I thought the commercial was great. I read all the comments though, and just wasted some great net surfin time looking at Beaver Scout and Brownie uniforms online. The boys in the commercial are obviously NOT dressed as brownie scouts. The vests may be borrowed from a brownie uniform, but the patches and such are all in the wrong places, and from my perusal it appears just as the letters from the company have stated – that it’s intended not to be a particular organization, but only to infer the boys were part of a youth organization. (BTW, the Japanese Beaver Scouts aren’t the only scout organization to have a brown vest as part of the boys’ uniform.) Do also note that no where in the commercial does it call the boys “scouts” at all. Scouts also aren’t the only uniformed youth group who hold wooden car races.

    As both a Cub Scout leader and a Cub and Boy Scout parent, I’m certainly not offended, and I don’t get the negative inferences of some respondents regarding the rough car that obviously won the race. My boys have been entering their pinewood derby cars in races for the past 5 years, and we’ve always made a point of making sure the boys did as much work on the cars as possible. They have a few cars that look rather like the one in the commercial. They design their car on paper, draw the cut lines on the block of wood, my husband cuts the general design, then it’s up to the boys to sand it and paint it to match what they want it to look like. We’ve had some interesting outcomes, and one or the other of the boys usually ends up in or near the finals. Their cars aren’t as fancy and streamlined as some of the entries, but it’s not always the “perfect” car that wins the race.

  40. Dick Says:

    As a Parent of an Eagle Scout and former Scoutmaster I think the commercial is cute and expresses our values. BSA policy does not allow endorsements of products, and that includes the wearing of the uniform for commercials or even “non-authorized” fund raising. The commercial portrays the values of our program and gives the Boy Scouts a good image.
    I have owned 3 Subaru Outbacks; the last is at College with the Eagle Scout Son. It periodically visits home or I see it at Order of the Arrow events or staffing at camp. Great Cars, and a great program, perhaps Subaru would like to help with Friends of Scouting this year. Has anyone asked?

  41. Kelly Says:

    You really need to take the commercial w/ the BOYS in BROWNIE UNIFORMS off the air….or re-do it!!!! It’s a disgrace to the scouting communities on both sides, Boys & Girls!!! I just watched it on Fox and was shocked that it still hadn’t been corrected! What a mistake to make! Hope the person who researched that was FIRED!! AND didn’t pay a lot for the spot!

  42. Tom Friedemann Says:

    This ad brought tears to my eyes. The story is nearly identical to the real life experience I had with my son in Stillwater, Oklahoma years ago. Our derby cars even look similar only my son’s was green. We called it the green machine. I wonder if someone who was there that day later went to work for an ad agency and recalled how our boxy car won against some much sleeker, fancier derby cars, thus their inspiration for the ad. Great advertisement!!!

  43. teta Says:

    Since Subaru is a Japanese company, Don’t you think that they may use boy groups in Japan as a reference for showmanship and kid participation. I don’t believe that they would intentionally insult Americans since they want us to buy their products. Wake up people its not all about you!! Other countries want their youth to participate in activities too. Americans don’t have a patent on youth activities.

  44. Paul R Says:

    I actually went through this exact thing at a pinewood derby race back in the late 60s in the Houston area. I carved my own clunky racer — an experience that included a trip to the ER because I was so inexperienced at whittling that I sliced off the top of my thumb — but it beat the sleek racers others had entered; I assume because it simply weighed more.

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