How do you get people all over the world to talk about trucks? That was the challenge when Volvo Trucks introduced five new models within 12 months. It wanted to stir up excitement for all the new features, not only among customers, but also among a wide range of influencers like truck drivers, friends and family – with a very limited media budget. The truck business in itself holds several challenges, from a communication perspective. It is definitely a typical business to business environment, defined by a lot of emphasis on the bottom line. On the other hand, it is a business where brand loyalty, product preferences and emotional values play an very important role. Volvo Trucks is a premium truck brand, competing with Mercedes Benz and Scania for the No. 1 global position.
Volvo Trucks’ core target group is a complex mix of everything from the CFO of a multinational large corporation to someone just starting out in this profession. In addition, truck buyers are surrounded by strong influencers like the truck drivers – a group that behave much more like a ordinary consumer audiance. It is extremely difficult to find cost effective communication channels to reach this diverse target group. Traditional advertising can definitely be part of the communication package, but they would never be able to create real cut through by only using traditional channels. The most effective way to launch a new truck and reach the core target group, would be to go wide and attract a broad audience. But without having a huge media budget for a global advertising campaign in consumer media, viral content marketing and social media combined with PR was the only way.
The brand created Volvo Trucks’ Live Tests, a series of videos on YouTube, testing new features. Highly relevant for the core target group, but at the same time spectacular and entertaining enough to attract a broad audience.
Volvo Trucks Live test series – so far:
The Hamster stunt: Can a hamster drive a 15-tonne truck? The new steering is up for a spectacular test. The Hook: The president of Volvo Trucks puts his neck on the line, testing the robustness of the Volvo FMX.
The Chase: A red-painted truck is being chased by a herd of bulls, testing the manouverability of the Volvo FL.
The Technician: The technician responsible for the improved ground clearance, shows that he´s a man of his words.
The Epic Split: JC Van Damme carry out his famous split between two reversing trucks, testing the Volvo Dynamic Steering. The videos was aired solely on Volvo Trucks’ YouTube channel. Then they were followed up in Volvo Trucks’s social media channels and combined with extensive PR. The Live Tests were also accompanied by by in-depth interviews with the engineers behind the new technology. This was done both in printed and digital form.
The campaign resulted in 95 million views on YouTube, seven million shares online, thousands of spoofs (adding a an extra 50 million views). YouTube went from 3,500 to 87,000 subscriptions, Facebook from 16,000 to 295,000 likes.
It also had over 20,000 editorials, with an earned media value of $170m.
In the fourth quarter of 2013 (after the campaign period) sales increased by 24%.
“Volvo Trucks has exceeded our expectations and contributed to the Volvo brand increasing its market share in Europe to historically high levels.” – Olof Persson, President and CEO of Volvo Group.