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Volvo puts digital at the core of new campaign as firm promises four-year ‘product onslaught’

Volvo has struck major digital advertising deals with Fairfax and Westfield as part of its most extensive marketing campaign for years to promote the launch of its new people carrier.

The car manufacturer is also airing internationally-produced TV ads in the multi-million dollar push which marks the introduction of the XC90, branded Volvo’s most significant product launch in a decade.

But Volvo Cars Australia marketing director Oliver Peagam said digital is very much “at the core” of the campaign, with around 60 per cent of media spend ploughed into digital creative.

Creative agency Grey Sydney worked on the campaign along with media agency Mindshare.

“It’s certainly one of the more significant campaigns I have worked on in my career and one of the most important from a Volvo Australia point of view,” Peagam told  Mumbrella.

“Globally we have a push for digital leadership and locally we have coined the term digital at the core. Everything we are producing and all the channels we are using is driving consumers back to our digital assets so we can capture data and target prospective customers through a number of calls to action, be it booking a test drive or requesting a brochure. That was core to our thinking.”

Peagam described the Fairfax partnership as “innovative and compelling” with readers served a range of digital material including five videos which provide information on different aspects of the new seven-seat XC90.

The content pieces, which explore the vehicles’ design, comfort, intelligence, safety and driveability, form the “backbone” of the digital executions, he said.

“Our target audience is families with young kids still at home, with significant household income who have bouts of spontaneity, and are time poor,” he said, describing its marketing as “laser-like” in its targeting.

“Fairfax have a stable of titles which resonate with that style of audience.”

The car will also be on display at Westfield shopping centres along the east coast, along with digital inventory, while five Qantas airport lounges will show seven second versions of the TVC.

The TVC itself, which features Swedish DJ Avicci, has 60, 30 and 15 second versions and will feature on free to air and subscription TV.

“The content videos are the backbone of our digital campaign and they start delivering more detail on the back of the TV,” Peagam said, adding it was critical to offer engaging content throughout that research phase.

“Our prospective audience research online and you have to make sure you are delivering new, fresh and engaging content at every point on their journey from above the line assets, to going to the airport or walking through Westfield.

“At every turn you’ve got to give them something new and the easiest way to do that and the most trackable is through digital.”

The campaign will also include “10-second grabs” on social channels.

Peagam said Volvo is also using the equity of the XC90 brand with a “significant” spend on SEO and keywords.

“Grey Sydney were able to digitise the TVC element of the campaign by placing a search icon against the XC90 at the end of the commercial,” he said. “We know that nameplate has a lot of equity. If you ask people to name a Volvo model they would start with that one. It has been our best seller for a long time.

“We have a significant SEO campaign and are making sure content on the web and landing page is optimsied and keyword buy is optimised. It’s a holistic approach and our agencies have been central to that.”

Grey Sydney business director Justine Leong said: “There is a pivotal shift in the way people buy cars. We need to treat the digital space as the dealership and provide as much detail and information as possible in the environment they frequent daily.”

The XC90 people carrier is expected to be the first of many product launches from Volvo over the next four years, with Peagam describing the roll out of new models as a “product onslaught”.

“The product is built on what we call scaleable product architecture and that allows us to build a number of different cars on the same platform,” he explained. “Within four years this will be the oldest car in our range which gives you some idea of the new stuff that is coming.

“It’s exciting because at every turn we know we have a new product coming and you have to support that with greater and newer innovation in our marketing campaigns.”

Steve Jones

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