Ringier takes Volvo on tour to reinvent its image

By Paula Felps


Nashville, Tennessee, USA


Since 1927, Volvo has built its reputation on the pillars of quality and safety. Rather than emphasising the technical aspects and features of its cars, its brand communication style relies on more emotional tactics, such as how it meets human needs and provides a safer automotive experience for drivers and passengers.

That messaging has served the brand well, and the company has enjoyed continued growth in sales since 2005. However, despite that growth, the brand consistently faces one significant challenge: how to reach younger customers.

With an average Volvo customer age of 47, the iconic car brand wanted to find a way to reach a younger audience. It turned to Poland’s Ringier Axel Springer to create a campaign that built premium brand awareness with younger clients between the ages of 25 and 44. The campaign leveraged Ringier’s Onet Pedroze platform to deliver the campaign.

The Onet on Tour powered by Volvo campaign had specific objectives to meet.
The Onet on Tour powered by Volvo campaign had specific objectives to meet.

In addition to the overriding objective of achieving maximum reach in this age group, Volvo also wanted to:

  • Increase spontaneous awareness of the Volvo brand.
  • Build engagement in the specific target group.

Hitting the road with Volvo

That led to creating the Onet On Tour powered by Volvo video campaign, which told intriguing, real-world travel stories through the eyes of the young people living those stories. The idea was to showcase Volvo as a comfortable yet rugged option for adventurers, dispelling its image as an older person’s vehicle.

To narrate the series, they turned to Jaroslaw Kuzniar, one of the most well-known journalists and influencers in Poland, who led viewers on a journey to six countries around the world — all powered by Volvo. Kuzniar, who is known for his passion for travel and new media, brought his journalistic strength to each episode, giving it the credibility of a news story while Volvo maintained a discreet but continuous presence in the series.

Popular Polish journalist Jaroslaw Kuzniar was the ideal choice to become the face of the Onet on Tour series.
Popular Polish journalist Jaroslaw Kuzniar was the ideal choice to become the face of the Onet on Tour series.

One of the highlights of the series was a special live programme featuring Volvo Gdynia Sailing Days, one of the most prestigious regatta cycles in the country that draws more than 2,000 sailors. The campaign also offered a live show exclusively for Volvo customers featuring a talk by Kuzniar.

Throughout filming of the series, video also captured what was happening behind the scenes, providing additional content to keep viewers engaged beyond each episode. All the videos in the series premiered on the Onet Podroze home page and Facebook page, but distribution also hinged on video platforms throughout the social media ecosystem, including Kuzniar’s well-followed social channels.

Volvo maintained its presence in online features that included native registrations offering test drives of Volvo vehicles, as well as using social media hashtags.

Exceptional results

Thanks to the unique approach to content marketing and the premium influencer engagement, Volvo enjoyed results that exceeded the company’s original objectives:

  • It attracted nearly 1.3 million unique users in the core target group.
  • 2.6 million users in all age groups participated in the campaign.
  • Throughout the course of the campaign, the videos garnered nearly 22.5 million views.
  • Onet on Tour also was the most popular format watched in autumn and spring flights of Onet.pl programming. 
  • The campaign successfully built engagement in the target group, with an average visit time of more than 15 minute on onetontour.pl native site, according to Google Analytics, and an average watch time of nearly 20 minutes on full-branded content episodes.
  • Viewers were overwhelming pleased with the content, offering 97% positive or neutral sentiments about the videos.

And, while the overall opinion on the Volvo brand didn’t change, it helped Volvo close the gap on its competitors (Audi, Mercedes, and BMW) over a 12-month period.

A condensed version of this case study appears in INMA’s September 2020 report Why Branded Content Fits This Advertising Moment, free to INMA members.

About Paula Felps

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