Volvo Case study BLINDFOLD by Di Rice, Special Group NZ

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Industry Cars
Media Case study
Market New Zealand
Agency Di Rice
Agency Special Group NZ
Creative Director Tony Bradbourne, Rob Jack
Art Director Iain Macmillan
Producer Fiona Champtaloup
Photographer Paul Rees-Jones
Released December 2010

Credits & Description

Advertiser: VOLVO
Product/Service: TEST DRIVE
Creative Director: Tony Bradbourne (Special Group)
Creative Director: Rob Jack (Special Group)
Managing Partner: Michael Redwood (Special Group)
Art Director: Iain MacMillan (Special Group)
Writer: Antony Wilson (Special Group)
Photographer: Paul Jones (Paul Jones Photography)
Project Manager: Jules Pakenham (Special Group)
Studio and Design: Peter Fox (Special Group)
Producer: Fiona Champtaloup (Special Group)
Post Production Company: (Oktobor)
General Manager: Stephen Kenchington (Volvo)
Media placement: Online 9 Spots - TVNZ, 3 News,,,, Yahoo!xtra & Facebook - 5th December 2010
Media placement: Outdoor: Billboards - Billboards: Auckland, Wellington, Hamilton, Christchurch & Dunedin - 5th December 2010
Media placement: Magazine - Autocar - 12th December 2010
Media placement: Magazine - Metro - 26th December 2010
Media placement: Magazine - Top Gear - 2nd January 2011
Media placement: Magazine - Sunday Magazine - 16th January 2011
Summary of the Campaign
In New Zealand, Volvo is considered a dull brand. How could we launch their exciting new performance saloon, the S60, to a disinterested audience?
How could we get influential motoring journalists to write about Volvo in a totally different way?
We took one of the safest cars on the road, and did something not quite so safe with it. We filmed top New Zealand race car driver Jonny Reid taking the car around the country's premier circuit. But totally blindfolded.
Guided by nothing more than his co-driver's voice, he broke a world record and hit a top speed of 193 km/h.
We sent a publicity kit to every motoring journalist in the country with the film, exclusive trackside interviews and a gallery of dynamic publicity shots.
Then we released it on a purpose built S60 microsite: learn about the car, watch behind the scenes footage, and even book your own test drive.
We drove traffic to the site via billboards, press and internet ads.
The film was viewed 74,000 times in 2 weeks (huge in a country of only 4 million people).
The stunt dominated every single one of New Zealand's S60 motoring reviews.
And spawned over 600 online articles.
The Situation
Volvo is a very minor car brand in New Zealand, selling fewer than 30 cars in 2010. It has low awareness, and when prompted, drivers still describe Volvos as “safe”, “boxy” or “an old man’s car”.
How then were we going to excite New Zealanders about the launch of Volvo’s most sporty sedan yet, the S60.
We needed to effectively launch a new model to a disinterested audience. Historically New Zealanders have never connected well with the Volvo brand, considering it dull and lacking in relevance.
There was a great opportunity here to create surprise, by acting in a way that was not expected of Volvo.
The Goal
We needed to grab the attention of the market, and cut through both the public’s lack of interest, and the resistance of the influential motoring press.
Our tiny budget totalled less than 40,000 Euros, which meant we could not rely on traditional paid media to get our message across.
To be successful therefore, our launch had to generate a disproportionate amount of editorial, online and PR attention.
We had two target audiences - the influential motoring journalists, and the potential customers (males 45-65)
Specifically we had focused objectives:
- With the journalists we needed to excite them and get them to re-appraise the brand.
- With the potential buyers we wanted to get them talking about Volvo for the first time ever, creating word of mouth and utilizing their social networks.
The Strategy
We created a highly news-worthy online event (a 193 kph
test-drive, completely blindfolded) filmed it, and broadcast it
Press, digital, social media advertising and word of mouth then
drove people to the microsite, where they could view the film,
watch behind the scenes footage, find our more about the
features of the S60, and request a test drive themselves.
Every aspect of the campaign was geared to generate maximum
PR mileage.
We made sure people knew where to find it by using above the line advertising.
To super-charge the effect of the launch stunt, we decided to target the influential motoring journalists.
The Blind fold test drive was filmed at Hampton Downs, NZ's top racing circuit. A world record was set for driving blindfolded on a circuit. The lap time was 1'28", top speed was 193 km/h.
After the initial PR release, we sent a publicity pack to every New Zealand motoring journalist. It contained the film of the Blindfold Test Drive, exclusive trackside interviews and a gallery of dynamic publicity shots.
We then released the film on a purpose built S60 microsite - where you could learn about the car, watch behind the scenes footage, and even book your own test drive.
Press ads, billboards and online ads drove people to the microsite.
Documented Results
Within 2 weeks the film had been viewed 74,000 (a big result in a country of 4 million).
The campaign generated huge levels of PR attention.
More than 80,000 people were driven to the special campaign microsite in the first two weeks.
And importantly, the campaign was a huge hit with the crucial audience - the motoring journalists. Every New Zealand review of the new Volvo S60 talked about the blindfold test-drive, and more than 600 online articles were generated.