Forsman & Bodenfors Takes Different Route for Volvo Trucks

By Erik Oster Comment

Forsman & Bodenfors made itself a household name, in part, through the strength of its attention-grabbing work for Volvo Trucks.

The most memorable of these efforts, surely, was the 2013 “Epic Split” spot starring Jean-Claude Van Damme which went on to win big at The One Show, Cannes Lions and any other awards program it was entered into. Other highlights in the agency’s “Live Test Series” also includes a 2015 effort featuring a 4-year-old driving a truck through an obstacle course via a remote control which went on to win an Adweek Arc Award and record-setting unboxing.

From those two examples alone, the agency has set a remarkably high bar with its work for the brand.

In it latest work, Forsman & Bodenfors moved away from the “Live Test” approach in favor of highlighting the money-saving qualities of the fuel-efficient engines in the new Volvo VNL Turbo Compound.

“The brief asked us to find a creative way to launch a very specific fuel-saving feature, Turbo Compound, on Volvo’s trucks in North America. It was six in the morning [when] I came up with the idea of the truck being a literal cash machine, and then I remembered the song, ‘If I Were a Rich Man’ (from the musical Fiddler on the Roof) and thought, ‘what if we have a truck driver that now can live his dream?'” explained Forsman & Bodenfors art director Lars Elfman.

“The Cash Machine” introduces Bob, who appreciates a lavish lifestyle thanks to the truck, which the spot informs viewers can lead to up to 11% in fuel savings.

Perhaps it was inevitable that the work would prove a tad underwhelming in comparison to the heights of Forsman & Bodenfors’ past work for the brand. Moving away from a winning formula is always a hard task, this is a challenging category to stand out in, and the “Live Test” angle always managed to bring a perspective that easily allowed the brand to do so. The money-making/saving approach in the new ad is more commonplace for the category, leaving it with a tougher challenge to overcome in some ways.

Forsman & Bodenfors and Volvo Trucks certainly deserve credit for not just sticking with the same approach, and they do manage to find a creative way to communicate the selling point, even if the spot builds toward a punchline that falls a bit flat once it arrives.

The campaign will run online on all of Volvo Trucks’ social media channels and a landing page on Volvo Trucks North America’s website.

“The ultimate target is, of course, those who actually purchase the trucks, but we reach them by addressing the truck drivers. For us, ‘The Cash Machine’ is a kind of celebration of all truck drivers,” Elfman said. “They do an important job and deserve credit for working hard, so more of them should be able to live a life like Bob.”

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