You can never accuse the Swedish company of a lack of imagination when it comes to TV ads for their trucks. Swedish automotive and truck manufacturers (we say ‘Swedish’ because we’d like to include the other one, Saab) have always relied on some flair and just a little bit of sex appeal to sell their vehicles.
In fact director Tony Scott (brother of Ridley) cut his teeth filming TV commercials before getting the Top Gun director gig, and looking at this ad he made for Saab you can see how it might have helped him get the job…
Volvo has always made a big thing of the safety of their vehicles – trucks and cars alike. So their ads have often used breathtaking stunts to demonstrate safety features (ironically by putting the stars in pretty unsafe situations) – witness this ad with a tightrope walker we featured here: Optimus Prime, tightrope walkers and B-triples.
Now they have put together a new ad with a similar theme to demonstrate the precision of their Volvo Dynamic Steering, starring Belgian action/martial arts star Jean Claude Van Damme doing the splits across two Volvo trucks while they’re reversing in sync. The ad has gone viral, showing 49.2 million views to date.
Other truck ads by the Scandinavian manufacturer have seen the CEO perched on top of a truck being lifted up by a huge crane, a ‘technician’ buried up to his neck in the ground being driven over (not run over) by one of the company’s trucks and another of their trucks being driven up a steep and winding quarry road – by a hamster. To have a look at what we’re talking about, just go to YouTube and type in ‘Volvo truck ads’.
Interestingly both Saab and Volvo have over the years made such a play of how safe their vehicles are, that when Volvo wanted to focus instead on the sportiness of their cars, people just didn’t believe the advertising. Volvo had to rely on motoring journalists to persuade the public for them!
We’ve searched Google high and low for an old ad that we think was for Volvo (or maybe Saab) by British director Adrian Lyne, who went on to direct Flashdance, 9½ Weeks and Fatal Attraction. In it, the car in question drives at high speed between two trucks driving in the opposite direction about a car’s width apart, and the car has a tyre blowout as it is driving between them. Do you remember this ad?
And remember if Volvo’s advertising has persuaded you to buy one of their trucks, give us a call if you need to arrange truck finance.