Volvo Trucks Revives Its Gonzo Ad Stunts by Stacking 4 Trucks and Putting Its Exec on Top

Forsman & Bodenfors returns to form 7 years after 'Epic Split'

"The Tower" took more than a month to construct to ensure it was safe for the company's president to stand atop. Volvo Trucks
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In 2013, Volvo Trucks set a new bar for b-to-b advertising with “Epic Split,” in which Jean-Claude Van Damme straddled two of the company’s semitrailers to the tune of Enya’s “Only Time.” The ad was a mainstream mega hit—viewed more than 96 million times on YouTube since its launch—and an ad industry favorite, taking home the Film Grand Prix at the Cannes Lions.

But after a few fun follow-ups (including Adweek 2017 Arc Awards winner “Look Who’s Driving”), Volvo Trucks and agency Forsman & Bodenfors moved in a new direction, dialing back the theatrics to focus on building more of a direct connection with commercial drivers. In 2019, for example, the brand compared its fuel-efficient trucks to a “cash machine,” and later offered free chiropractic treatment for long-haul truckers.

While practical advertising is all well and good, Volvo Trucks clearly realized that it needed to give the people what they truly wanted: ridiculously bonkers advertising (that still sells trucks).

Enter “The Tower,” a ludicrous stunt in which the brand stacked four of its new trucks on top of each other and then, for good measure, topped it all with Volvo Trucks president Roger Alm.

“It took about a month to design and build the tower and make sure it was safe to drive,” said Volvo Trucks’ Markus Wikström, part of the engineering team behind the project. “Essentially, this was made possible thanks to the sturdy construction truck, the Volvo FMX, and its new 38-tonne bogie being able to carry the weight of the others. But it also required a steady speed and course, accomplished by the Volvo Dynamic Steering technology and a skilled truck driver.”

The spot was filmed on a testing ground outside Volvo’s hometown of Gothenburg, Sweden. Fully assembled, the tower of trucks stood almost 50 feet and weighed a combined 58 tons.

While most behind-the-scenes videos are imminently skippable, this is one you’ll definitely want to watch:

The video promotes this week’s launch in Europe of four new Volvo Trucks models: the Volvo FH, Volvo FH16, Volvo FM and Volvo FMX. The four trucks make up about two-thirds of Volvo Trucks’ deliveries, so rolling out all four new models at once was a monumental marketing challenge worthy of an automotive obelisk.

”This is our biggest launch ever at Volvo Trucks,” Alm said. “They will have a huge impact on our customers’ profitability and ability to compete both for business and the best drivers. I’m used to being on top of things, but for me, shooting the truck tower was definitely an unusual day at work. And let’s just say I have a certain respect for heights. I’m a down-to-earth guy.”

Below, you’ll find the credits for “The Tower,” but first let’s revisit two of Volvo Trucks’ greatest marketing moments: 2013’s “Epic Split” and 2015’s “Look Who’s Driving”:


Client: Volvo Trucks
Product: The new Volvo FMX, Volvo FH, Volvo FH16, Volvo FM
Advertising Supervisor: Jonas Jademyr, vice president of global launches

Title: The Tower

Creative Agency: Forsman & Bodenfors
Client Director: Cilla Pegelow
Account Director: Ann Spennare Bengtsson
Account Manager: Britta Nilsson
Art Director: Mattias Berg, Jose]in Roxeheim
Copywriter: Olle Langseth, Hampus Elfström
PR-strategist: Bjarne Darwall
Designer: Jerry Wass
Planner: Daniel Sjöstrand
Agency Producer: Lena Sellman
Digital strategist: Peter Gaudiano
Media/PR agency: Verizon, TMK
Production company: Bacon
Post production: Bacon X
Music: Vangelis – Conquest of Paradise

Production company: Bacon
Director: Andreas Nilsson
Managing director: Mette Jermiin
Executive producer: Samuel Cantor
Producer: Karl Wettre
Line producer: Jakob Berlin
Coordinator: Danielle Ekblad
1st AD: Robert Diment
2nd AD: Ronald Meier
D.O.P: Jakob Ihre
Key grip: Emil Hall
Gaffer: Nils Wallin
Prop Master: Zeke Söderlund
Motion control Operator: Allan O. Lükow
Stylist: Natalie Olenheim
Stunt: Seth Ericson
Editor: Peter Brandt
Sound design: Adrian Aurelius
Head of PR: Lasse Cato
Focus puller: Daniel Wannberg
Drone operator: Daniel Casselby
SFX supervisor: Johan Hamesk
Edit assistant: Nikolaj Dahl

Postproduction: BaconX
VFX supervisors: Jonas Drehn & Jan Tvilling
EXECUTIVE POST PRODUCER: Eliana Carranza-Pitcher
VFX PRODUCER : Louise Bejerholm
COLOURIST: Hannibal Lang
COLOUR ASSIST: Søren Gamborg Knudsen
Concept artist: Ditte Marie Ludvigsen
Pre-vis artists: Tom Crate, David Lessel
CG Artists: David Lessel, Arthur Dalvig, Mats Andersson, Gemma Aliaga Costa, Erik Sundkvist
Comp artists: Mario Maruska, Mikkel Hansen, Jacob Carlsson, Oliver Buus, Kai Hauswirth

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@griner David Griner is creative and innovation editor at Adweek and host of Adweek's podcast, "Yeah, That's Probably an Ad."