What we can learn from collaboration between Volvo and Zlatan Ibrahimović

A significant number of campaigns, activations and ads were produced during 2016. Truth to be told, it seems like the amount of them doubles on yearly basis, but I presume that is expected.

“Top charts” of best campaigns are pretty much the same, with small variations. The prizes mostly go to the campaigns which have reached the largest number of people and have created a buzz.

My attention, trough 2015 and 2016, was caught by cooperation between Volvo and Zlatan Ibrahimović. The cherry on the top was a part of campaign honoring Zlatan’s retirement from Swedish national football team. As usual from this cooperation, everything was simplified by having only two short movies, with precise beginning and ending.

Why this campaign worked and what draw my attention?

– The heritage of Zlatan Ibrahimović’s was used to the max. By signing famous athletes, brands usually get tamed into the web of shallow and simple ads and often not using the story behind the athlete (growing up, past, road to success etc)

– Fully used momentum of Zlatan waving goodbye to Sweden national team. The moment was more popular than the very competition where his retirement has happened.

– Understanding the importance of music in film. Music for these two short movies was composed by Hans Zimmer- enough said. For those who have not been introduced to Zimmer’s work he is person behind almost every blockbuster’s soundtracks in past two decades. This detail inspired a lot of questions on Volvo’s YouTube channel, who is the guy who did the music? I’ve conducted a small research among people who did not follow Zlatan’s career and even they were touched.

– Narrative. It was a well-known fact that Zlatan was talented for number of things other than football. These short movies used his charisma, persona and energy, using short and strong sentences and dramatic pauses. Music matched this perfectly so the result was an excellent short story.

– What’s in it for Volvo? When you work with someone so long, then you do not need a car driving up and down the screen, howling on the road, passing the tunnels… At the end of the day, that is not what Volvo really is. With these short movies, Volvo communicated the right message: heritage, practicality and family moment. Volvo and Zlatan share the same core values, Made by Sweden. Country that has officially being declared as the happiest country in the world.

– The budget, energy, focus and momentum were used to the max for creating the content that marked 2016- video.

– Unclearness. The bad side of majority of campaigns is that they are somehow vague. These two movies are everything but vague. One does not need to be a football fan or Zlatan’s fan to understand the essence and the message.

– Storytelling. Apart from “content” the most used word in 2016. I am thankful to Volvo, because now I need only a couple of minutes to explain what storytelling is, without never-ending argues, discussions, presentations, etc.

All of this was not a result of simple twist of faith. Do not tell me that it was a plain sailing for Volvo, just because they had Zlatan. Couple of years ago Volvo has resurrected Jean Claude Van Damme in “Epic Split” commercial, which resulted in that year’s best campaign. Volvo apparently knows how to work with current celebrities but also with somewhat forgotten celebs.



Prologue: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2QzJCtpp5k4&t=1s

Epilogue: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5SRQUxdNppg


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