The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

When Trying To Be Part Of Culture Shows You’re Not Part Of Culture …
February 2, 2015, 6:25 am
Filed under: Comment, Crap Campaigns In History, Volvo

Come and take a bow Volvo.

Of course you’re #nofilter, that’s because you’ve airbrushed and image-tuned that car to within an inch of its life.

Seriously, do you think people don’t see that?

Do you think people go, “Wow, that’s the most naturally stunning thing I’ve ever seen!”

Trust me, they won’t.

Where naturally stunning is concerned, people tend to talk about sunrises, landscapes or Scarlet Johansson not some boxy Volvo that still looks like a boxy Volvo after 400 hours of airbrushing has been added to it.

If you honestly think this will make someone change their view of Volvo then you know even less about your audience than I thought you did.

Mind you, given you’ve spent 15 years trying – and failed – to find a contemporary positioning for your brand and now are just hanging your hat on the fact it “looks less boxy than your older cars”, it’s pretty obvious you’ve failed to grasp both who you are and who you can be targeting.

Maybe the next hashtag you should use is #fail


32 Comments so far
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So far Robert, this post is the best pre-Super Bowl entertainment I’ve seen. Volvo have been off the rails for years. When the truck division is more interesting than the car division they should know they have problems and rubbish like this is just making it worse. I did see a film they recently made about Swedish winter. It was beautiful but the problem is Volvo seem uncertain who they are or want to be which leads to this schizophrenic approach to marketing. It is good to have you back.

Comment by George

Is it that bad? Oh dear. I’m kind-of bemused how the Super Bowl has now extended beyond America’s borders. Maybe it’s because of the pure spectacle rather than the sport … in fact, it can be for no other reason.

Funnily enough, I got interviewed by China’s biggest business magazine about it yesterday and point out that as an Englishman – who supports Nottingham Forest – my perspective on the SuperBowl is definitely skewed, ha. On the plus side, it keeps adland busy so there is some sort positive coming out of it. Except when you see some of the bullshit that companies have spent millions on that they think will aid their business.

As for Volvo, I saw the film you’re talking about, and yes … it’s beautiful. Don’t know if it would make me buy a Volvo, but it has made me want to buy a house in Sweden. And no, I’m not joking. [But I wanted to do that before the ad. Honest]

Comment by Rob

Comment by George

Looks bleak, cold and uninviting. And so does the Swedish weather.

Comment by DH

But beautifully filmed, mesmerizing. Swedish weather looks a lot like ours with prettier highways–only thing i was thinking, these kinds of “go like hell on snowy roads’ commercials make you think its okay even if you’re not in a Volvo.

Only problem I see is that its too pretty, too long, and too mesmerizing, and you do forget its about the car, not the film…

Comment by judyt54

Hi Judy. As I said in the comment to George, the film made me like Sweden more than Volvo. Could have been made great … especially with the premise of anti-hostile winter … but sadly, they just went with beauty instead.

Comment by Rob

Sorry, but that film’s all over the place and all the car shots are the usual ones.

Comment by John

I agree with comments but I think at the end of the film Made by Sweden appears then thats little making sense as it showing relation between the country and the car

Quoted from digitalartsonline uk:
Through British eyes, we associate those landscapes and weather conditions with those crime dramas and – without context – interpret scenes such as an open car door leading the sea, a man standing alone on the beach and even a man burning sheets of what could be interpreted as paper as sinister. Certain scenes – such as a child standing at the top of the cliffs – also have coincidental similarities to key scenes in Broadchurch, which it seems I wasn’t the only one to binge watch at Christmas before the second series started.

This isn’t a criticism of Vintersaga. It’s an ad aimed at a Swedish audience that will likely get limited viewings by the general public outside Sweden. But it’s a good reminder that if we ask viewers to create their own a narrative from the visuals we put in front of them, we hand over control of what that story tells to them.

Comment by Baris Gencel (@Aoibaris)

It’s run in the US.

Comment by Billy Whizz

This is natural beauty. Best bounce in super bowl history.

Comment by Billy Whizz

It’s sexist and straight out of the 1980’s. Even beer companies don’t adopt that approach anymore Billy.

Comment by George

Sorry George, forgot you had your balls cut off. I only like the super bowl because it gives me an excuse to get pissed in the afternoon.

Comment by Billy Whizz

I didn’t think you needed an excuse. Good to know.

Comment by George


Comment by DH

Oh Billy, you’re not as redneck as that are you? I know I haven’t seen you for ages but you weren’t this bad even in your hormonal overload best.

And I agree with George, it’s 80’s, sexist bullshit. The reason I think Budweiser are smart is they have moved away from that. I may think using puppies is an overly simple tool for developing emotional connection with viewers, but the smart thing is they have done it in a way that will appeal to their core audience [mates stick together] as well as anyone else they are with while watching SuperBowl. [ie: parents, kids, wives, siblings]

Still prefer our Born of Fire spot from a few years ago though.

Comment by Rob

Was watching a great TV show about the M6 and all the people who work on it an hour or so ago. One of the interesting observations from somebody commenting about the gridlock was how car ads never feature the reality of driving – “they all feature smiling people – look out there, how many people are smiling?”

Comment by John

The author “Chris Brookmyer” wrote about this in one of his books. It was cutting, especially about Ford Mondeo drivers. But then it featured a hitman who listened to Queen so he obviously has issues.

Comment by DH

But Brookmyre tends to cite Warren Zevon so he’s OK.

Comment by John

I have that book and in it, the hitman does a great overview of the Hot Space album and how it hit Queen’s fanbase hard. Ironically, I still love that album, it’s anything after 1984 I had issues with.

Comment by Rob

Good to see you haven’t lost any of your tragicness Rob.

Comment by DH

what the fuck are you all doing on here. its superbowl fucking sunday. you could all have your fucking green cards revoked for not spending every waking second watching superbowl shit and thats before the superbowl shit has even started. 15 minutes of entertainment stretched over four fucking hours. still more fun than the forest season. see pearce has gone and youve replaced him with another forest reject. hahahahahahahahahahaha. hahahaha. ha. hahahahaha. now stop fucking commenting and prepare for the bullshit. and for once i dont just mean this blog.

Comment by andy@cynic

Best match description ever.

Comment by DH

Yes. And we have replaced him with Dougie bloody Freeman. Psycho had to go, 3 wins in 24 matches can not be justified by anyone. But Freeman??? Oh god.

Comment by Rob

For the Super Bowl record …

I really like the Dodge 100 Years ad and – without being a corporate toady – the Weight Watchers spot but I absolutely hated the Dove For Men spot. ABSOLUTELY DESPISED IT.

There were others I liked [or found interesting] but I hated a lot more … but that Dove one really annoyed me for its contrived bullshit and attempt to offer an alternative to our P&G ‘Thank You Mum’ [I refuse to say Mom] campaign.

I also discovered that based on what media commentators & twitter folk say, there is a huge difference between what American’s think is “hilarious” and what Brits think is “hillarious”.

Last thing, it’s really weird seeing a Super Bowl spot based on work you did that is interpreted by another agency in a way that completely misses the point of what was being said … but it’s only advertising so I will try and stop being so annoyed. Try.

And for the record, this may just be the most topical blog post I have ever written. Yay for me.

Comment by Rob

I searched out that Dove ad on the basis of this (yes, I have no life) and agree with you completely. Caring makes you stronger is just slapped on at the end, there’s no evidence of it in what goes before.

That said, I found it in a run-down of all the Superbowl ads and it was put in the grade A sedtion, while the Dodge one was marked down as a D. Because old people.

Comment by John

And I know they’re getting at the idea of looking after yourself so you can look after others, but it all seems narcissitic rather than the celebrational tone everybody’s craving.

Comment by John

John, you are agreeing with me. Are you OK?

Comment by Rob

you sick fuck doddsy.

Comment by andy@cynic

I miss Lansbury

Comment by Northern

is that your northern racing pigeon.

Comment by andy@cynic

please fucking tell me it gets better tomorrow. writing about a fucking volvo is like writing about woodchip wallpaper.

Comment by andy@cynic

I saw this in Singapore too!

I’d say it was an #epicfail on another count here because the majority of people who understand what #nofilter means are way too young to be able to afford a car in this country!

I tried to explain this to my perplexed 29 year old boyfriend. And even he didn’t know what #nofilter meant.

Comment by Rachel Chew (@rchewgum)

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