Why Van Damme’s ‘Epic Split’ Was the Perfect Storm for One NYC Creative Director

Erik Norin dissects Volvo Trucks and his other favorite ads

Headshot of Tim Nudd

The “Epic Split” commercial for Volvo Trucks, which took the Internet by storm four years ago this November, was embraced by millions of people (86 million and counting on YouTube, to be exact). But to Erik Norin, creative director at Mother New York, it felt like it was almost made just for him.

As a Swedish guy working in advertising, and a huge Jean-Claude Van Damme fan as a kid, Norin understandably got chills when he stumbled upon the spot, created by Swedish agency Forsman & Bodenfors, on the day of its release.

Naturally, he included it as one of his three favorite spots of all time in Adweek’s latest “Best Ads Ever” video.

“It hit a part of me that ads probably don’t hit,” Norin told us. “On YouTube, you’ll see that little counter that says 301+, so you know you’re early watching it. I remember who sent it to me, and that feeling that I’m immediately … sending it to people who I haven’t seen in like 10 years, and have lost contact with. The one thing we had in common—Bloodsport and all those movies, completely uncut. And he’ll do his signature move. So when I saw that thing? Goosebumps. Back memory lane.”

Along with his fanboy adoration, Norin also recognized how perfect the strategy was behind the spot. “It’s just icing on the cake that it’s perfectly communicating everything they want to say about Volvo and the safe trucks. It’s a bit of a perfect storm for me,” he said.

Check out the video at the top of this story for more from Norin, including his other two picks—FedEx’s “Fast Talker” and Canal+’s “The Bear.” See those spots in full below. And to see our whole “Best Ads Ever” series, click here.

@nudd Tim Nudd is a former creative editor of Adweek.