Volvo truck commercial goes viral, but will it help build the brand?


In 2011 Volvo posted its largest year-on-year increase in truck sales for the North American market. The market saw an impressive sales volume increase of 75%.

Since then the company has struggled to compete in a tough economic environment and even though 2012 saw the overall truck market in North America rise 52%, Volvo, owned by Geely, China saw sales drop by 6%. The company recorded double digit drops in China and Sweden and predicted a tough 2013.

At the same time, there is a boardroom fight going on between Chief Executive Stefan Jacoby and Vice Chairman Hans-Olov Olsson that often gets bitterly personal.

In Malaysia the company has faired better with 2012 sales up an impressive 42% from 2011. I haven’t seen any advertising campaigns for Volvo trucks in Malaysia but the latest commercial has gone viral and will no doubt get some coverage here.

The commercial features Jean Claude Van Damme doing the splits between two Volvo trucks driving backwards into the sunset to an Enya tune. It’s an impressive stunt and JC is in excellent shape but will the commercial make a difference to Volvo truck sales?

Will this impressively produced commercial get potential customers to review their purchasing options? Will it get logistics companies to revise their transportation tenders to include the line, “All vehicles must come with the equivalent of Volvo’s Dynamic Steering System”?

Surely such a unique and impressive bit of technology needs to be experienced by a potential driver/buyer first hand?

Of course I don’t know the full extent of the Volvo truck brand strategy going forward but to me, whilst the exploits of JC are impressive I find them a distraction, damaging the attempts by Volvo to draw my attention to a cool bit of kit. Do you agree or am I just an old cynic?