Comedians agree that the best humor comes from the truth, and it is the expression of the truth that makes this Subaru commercial so funny. While the situation itself – a dog driving lesson – isn’t realistic, there is so much else in the advertisement.
A student driver hitting the mailbox is a stereotype that makes it fun for a dog to do it. That dogs have a tendency to react to ducks is so well known that it is the perfect cause of the mailbox incident. The driver is already distracted by the ducks, but he is so scared that he loses control of the car when the other dogs bark at them. We often jump in response to a dog that suddenly barks so we can relate to the driver’s misfortune.
The driver’s reactions to hitting the mailbox – blaming the shotgun dog and staring at it – are as easy to understand as their reaction to the glare. When she hangs her head in shame, it is impossible not to feel the weight of guilt for her loss of self-control and for the unfortunate outcome of her barking. The way the dogs nonverbally communicate with each other in this situation is reminiscent of so many human interactions, and the lifelike nature of the scene makes them so funny.
Subaru’s latest dog commercial is successful because it uses truth to demonstrate the humor in life.