Volvo Goes After Young Crowd With Network, Cable TV Ads

NEW YORK – Volvo isn’t playing it safe anymore with its advertising or media plan.
Not that the Swedish car company isn’t touting crash safety as it always has, but director of communications Bob Austin says in addition to pumping more money into the more youth-oriented advertising campaign it began last fall, Volvo has flip-flopped its traditional media plan to favor network and cable TV over print.
To go with the change of media plan, Volvo spending is expected to be nearly $60 million this year, up from about $50 million last year, according to Leading National Advertisers. Last year’s spending was up significantly from the spending crash of 1991 when the Swedish car maker only spent about $21 million.
Historically, Volvo has not advertised on network or cable, choosing a heavy magazine and national newspaper schedule, and dabbling in spot TV and radio. But to reach younger buyers with its new 850 sedan – its most important launch in several years – network, cable and spot TV will account for about 75% of the budget, with just 15% going to magazines and the remainder into national newspapers. In 1991, two-thirds of Volvo’s spending was in print, and last year it was about half.
Volvo began its first network TV campaign last summer with a six-week campaign themed ‘Family Values,’ a parody of the presidential campaign rhetoric going on at the time. This month, agency Messner Vetere Berger McNamee Schmetterer breaks another campaign for a national lease plan, themed, ‘The Economic Act of 1993.’
‘We’ve traditionally gone after upscale couples with kids, but we are trying to reach younger people, maybe without kids, with 850 ads, and TV is the way to do that,’ says Austin.
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)

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