The new Volvo C30


A car launch that lets people decide what the advertising should be was a tough sell in to Ford-owned Volvo but we argued that the young target audience would respond to nothing less than this.

We also believed that this "Product of free will" strategy played straight to the Scandinavian heart of the Volvo brand and its slightly maverick heritage.

The brief for this new urban run-around from Volvo was "spontaneity", but we were painfully aware that the car category was full of spots showing wacky "kids" having wild and spontaneous adventures in their cars.

So we applied spontaneity to the actual process of creating the campaign.

The design of the car, especially the back, was highly polarising – people either loved or hated it so we set out to capture those instant reactions &endash; both car and advertising would be "A Product of Free Will.".

The first press and tv work stripped away all the usual codes and conventions of car advertising and just said: "what do you think?" We then created something called the Volvo Vox Popular – a collection of over 200 quotes from different people we interviewed on the street that captured their first impressions of the car.

We then took the best of those quotes ("It will attract many eyes, many eyes"..."It's so nice, I'd take it on a picnic") and just gave them to our film makers with an open brief to bring them to life in whatever way they wanted to. The car had to be integral to the action but apart from that it was total creative freedom.

Online the films became the starting points for a whole Factory of Free Will with interactive games and message boards. At motor shows and dealerships people could post-it-note their opinions and vote for preferred angles and features.

On the streets, pre-launch C30s were left hidden in large anonymous cardboard boxes with just enough peep holes for people to give a first impression.

The campaign was rolled out across Europe via a series of creative workshops where the local agencies were encouraged to exercise their own free will and extend the campaign in unexpected ways – in Germany the showroom staff wore t-shirts saying "Don't believe a word I say", in the Netherlands, "Free Will" inspired a C30 Magazine that was guest-edited by 30 different thinkers.

The idea has now rolled out across the whole of Europe, Canada, Australia, China, Japan and Vietnam.

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