In the 1970s, the Swedes looked like they could rule the world. ABBA, Volvos and Saabs were everywhere, as well as state-sponsored socialism. They were fun, fair, easy-going and above all non-confrontational. It was all about disco, harmony, and music.
Well, I am here to tell you, those kind Swedes at Volvo are shaking things up. They are getting naughty. Just look at the ad campaign for the new 2011 Volvo S60 and V60. It’s officially called “Naughty” and those tire-smoking, clad-in-black-leather, listening-to-loud-rock-music, running-around-with-scissors-in-their-hands Swedes are doing everything they can to dispel any notions of a boring, staid company and cars and show they are sexy, nasty and naughty.
Check out the Volvo YouTube channel and this great video below, and see if Volvo is genuinely naughty, or if Volvo is just a naughty wannabe. After you watch, read and listen to all this, answer the following questions using only one hemisphere of your brain:
- Is Volvo so naughty that Lady Gaga should take heed and get a new publicist?
- Should Olivia Munn, queen of popularity and self-promotion, take notes and buy an S60?
- Should the ABBA-loving septuagenarians who used to buy boxy Volvos for their dogs be shocked by all this naked naughtiness and shake their fists in anger?
What a change from peddling safety, safety, and then a little bit more safety. Even when Volvo gave us fun cars in the '90s and '00s with turbos and stick shifts, they were still above all pragmatic and safe fun cars. Having built their reputation on it, Volvo was slow to move away from the safe image completely seeing as that worked. But then every other manufacturer and his brother realized safety as a selling point and Volvo had a tough time differentiating its image.
Sure, they made great products that looked quite good (S60 and S80, and XC90) and were nice to drive, and of course very safe, but they never measured up in substance, and just as importantly, style to their Germanic counterparts, who began dominating the tame Swedes. So Volvo has now decided it’s time to rebrand the image, and what a rebranding they have chosen. Being naughty.
With the intro of the new S60 and V60, both very sweet looking rides, they are going whole hog with a YouTube channel, a website and ads that do nothing but mention just how naughty those ABBA-loving Volvo nuts can be. And it is a courageous break for a conservative brand, and we are not just talking the styling, which is really quite sexy. Volvo cars and the brand have to stand out, and the product is the first step, but the ad campaign is really making an effort. Possibly too much of one, but better to try something different than staying the course, like George Bush Sr. once did. Look where that got him. One term as President. Volvo wants way more than that.