To raise awareness of Volvo’s big launch, we had to find an unusual and interesting way to raise awareness and tell the world about it. And since truck buyers are surrounded by a lot of influencers, we needed to go beyond the target group and engage the people they are influenced by such as drivers, family, friends and media. To do so, we had to create something that was instantly shareable and impossible to ignore, but also demonstrated a relevant feature.
In 2020, Volvo was about to launch four new trucks at the same time. Something that is unheard of in the trucking industry. Our brief was to come up with a creative idea that could raise awareness of this big launch in an unusual and interesting way. Even though truck buyers are the decision-makers, their choices are influenced by the people around them such as drivers, family, friends and media. Therefore, we had to create a campaign that was spectacular enough to reach beyond the core target group.
Describe the creative idea (20% of vote)
To demonstrate the strength and power of its four new vehicles, we built a colossal 15-metre, 15-tonne truck tower, stacking the four tracks on top of each other. We started by releasing cryptic teasers to trucker forums and blogs with the message that ”Something big is coming” to create buzz and curiosity. And when we had people’s interest, one day before the launch, we released a spectacular film that displayed the tower in all its glory. As the film reaches its climax, complete with smoke and lighting effects, we see that the man standing on top of the tower is actually Volvo Trucks’ president Roger Alm. Viewers were then directed to a 3-minute documentary that described the construction of the tower and how it was made possible thanks to the 38-tonne bogie.
Describe the PR strategy (30% of vote)
Even though truck buyers are the decision-makers when it comes to buying a new truck, their choices are influenced by the people around them such as drivers, family, friends and media. Therefore, we had to create a campaign that was spectacular enough to reach beyond the core target group. To reach wider, our concept was fully designed for PR, being entertaining and engaging for a large audience, yet product oriented and relevant for the core audience.
We began with cryptic teasers with the message ”Something big is coming” to spark curiosity and create buzz among the target audience. Then, once we had their interest, we released a spectacular film that displayed the tower in all its glory. From the film, viewers were directed to the mini documentary where they could learn more about the project and the 38-tonne-bogie that made it possible.
Describe the PR execution (20% of vote)
In the trucking industry, launching four trucks at the same time is unheard of. Therefore, we decided to launch the campaign one day prior to the official launch, to make media publish the story, the film, and the never-before-seen before pictures of the trucks.
Key media were provided with assets and interviews, a worldwide PR outreach was orchestrated through Volvo’s PR managers and broad wire pushes, and the film was used at Volvo’s global media events.
We implemented several PR components in the creative idea: Building the tower for real thanks to the new 38-tonne bogie, showing in-depth films of how the product test was done, having their CEO standing on top despite being scared of heights, and dramatizing it with music and special effects that connected it with popular culture. Combined, the creative idea was so unusual, breaking the category language, that it sparked worldwide attention in broad media.
List the results (30% of vote)
Despite launching the campaign at the same time as Covid-19 struck the world, The Tower sparked a global conversation about Volvo’s new launch. Over 660 articles were written with a potential reach of more than 2.5 billion people. It also generated a social reach of over 90 million people and 70 million campaign impressions. Among some of the major news outlets were Daily Mail, Wired and Business insider, as well as trucker magazines, blogs, social media and forums worldwide.
Even though video delivery was halted before the end of the campaign period, the film and the behind-the-scenes film were viewed over 42 million times. On YouTube, the total completion rate was 39%, which is high over automotive benchmark of 20%. When it comes to readership, the paid articles had three times as many visitors as guaranteed. The average visitor spent 3:25 reading an article, which is a staggering length of time considering how media struggle for attention online. But the campaign didn’t just drive interest. It also resulted in tangible business results and a 60% order increase of Volvo Trucks during the campaign period.