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Transformation Tuesday: Volvo Trucks

Brand background

van damme

Long gone are the days when a Volvo was immediately associated with ‘soccer moms’ and muddy hubcaps – now it means so much more. Now it means Jean Claude Van Damme doing the splits between two reversing trucks. But what was so brilliant about the van Damme stunt was that it drew the world’s attention to a section of YouTube that not many of us knew about: Volvo Trucks.

Volvo has been working with a content marketing agency for 15 years, which has been closely guarding all content from the brand in terms of quality and tone of voice. But this was mainly ensuring all above the line, merchandise and printed brochures were consistent – online content kind of took a back seat.

The turning point

For the masses? Van Damme, of course! But in reality, Volvo Trucks had a YouTube channel since 2007 that’s been populated with hundreds of videos since its beginnings. Naturally, they’ve become more and more ambitious – particularly after their viral success back in 2013 – but the thought was always there and it was always right. How? Well, Volvo Trucks knows its audience inside out and gives them the content they really want to see.

Live test

  1. Volvo live tests 

    The tests that spawned the Van Damme stunt allow Volvo to speak to drivers about their superior vehicles without the boring sales brochure. What better way to demonstrate ground clearance than by narrowly missing running over the top of a man’s head? Is there a more visual way to prove a smooth ride than by filming a ballerina tightrope walking between two speeding trucks? What about showcasing a truck’s agility by painting it red and have a herd of angry bulls chase it around the narrow streets of a Spanish city? Nope, probably not. It’s exhilarating viewing. Pretty impressive for a few short videos about the technical specifications of trucks.What’s also noteworthy about this and many other Volvo Trucks videos is the inclusion of actual employees. They not only make the videos more believable, they actually make it more watchable – they’re great on camera and bring an authenticity to the channel that would otherwise be sorely lacking.

  2. What’s your story?

    These are your classic guide ‘how to’ vids, but they’re presented by real truckers sharing their stories, tips and advice for other truckers. It’s peer-to-peer endorsement that offers something of real use to the audience – and is far more engaging than the same advice coming from Volvo itself. Even when the interviewees talk directly about Volvo, they’re freaking good stories.

  3. Brian’s Truck Report

    Although it was particularly popular a couple of years ago now, Brian’s Truck Report was a great piece of content marketing. It saw renowned truck journalist Brian Weatherley present an award-winning web series that tested the performance of Volvo trucks around the world. Given it’s all about truck performance, its consistently high numbers of views – usually around 750K per video – proves its relevance to the target audience.

Where are they now?

Mapei

Volvo Trucks continues to focus on its most successful platform: YouTube. Its latest web series, Reality Road, has a pretty surprising focus. Here’s the blurb: ‘An artist, a director and a truck driver set off in a Volvo FH to create a music video across six countries. This is Reality Road, the new TV Series about life on the road and Volvo Trucks Services.’ Through a genuinely interesting, inspiring story about the creation of a music video over nine days on a road trip around six countries, Volvo Trucks shares the limelight by playing a key supporting role. And it’s working: the trailer was released in June and has already racked up 1.5 million views, probably among those who’d never had a moment’s thought for Volvo Trucks before now.

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