Rock On, Volvo
The Swedes may not be known for their sense of humor, but when it comes to cars…well, they’re certainly known for their sense of safety, thanks to soccer-mom-car-of-choice brand Volvo. So I was tickled to see this aggressively cheeky billboard in Manhattan today:
The headline is a grabber: Tired of German techno? Try some Swedish metal.
This is a classic example of a comparison ad, something that can work well for smaller brands who stand to benefit from the comparison connection to the larger brands. Of course, the reverse is rarely a good idea. But this type of campaign is not without perils – both from consumers, who may meet the comparison with a response something like “in your dreams,” as well as from the larger brand, who may respond with action something along the lines of “and now vee vill crush you."
Nonetheless, Volvo’s "Swedish Metal” ad is fun and goes beyond the carmaker’s safety zone in a way that pushes the sphere of credibility without busting out of it. Apparently, this ad was part of a large UK campaign earlier this year, wherein Volvo made an interesting offer: test drive the Volvo and its Mercedes counterpart; if you choose the Mercedes, Volvo will make your first payment. Now THAT adds a lot of power to the punchiness of that ad. I wonder if Volvo will put their US dollars where their mouth is as well…