The campaign, titled “A New Beginning”, will kick off next week (8 May) with an online music video and track remaking Nina Simone’s “Feeling Good”, created in collaboration by Volvo, Avicii and Universal Music.
Alain Visser, senior vice president of sales, marketing and customer service at Volvo Car Group, told Marketing Week that the campaign marks a “new generation” of Volvo which will see it launch the a new line of products including the Volvo XC90, a premium model aimed at competing with the likes of BMW and Mercedes Benz, set to launch alongside the campaign.
It will also renew all of its existing models over the next four years.
The brand will also attempt to reach a younger audience through less “traditional” marketing, using the likes of Twitter and YouTube to promote the new campaign.
“Yes, we are a family brand, but we also want to be a bit more progressive in the way we go out,” Visser says. “In the design of our new cars and technology we’re starting to be more progressive and we want to show that in our marketing as well.”
He adds that Avicii’s fan base, which he calls “young, trendy, cool 25-year-olds” are younger than Volvo’s target audience, opening up an opportunity to reach new consumers.
However, he adds that by using a classical Nina Simone jazz song, the brand still hopes to reach an older age group.
“He stretches us a bit outside our comfort zone, but we like that despite being a world star he’s still quite understated,” he adds. “Volvo likes to be that as well. We leave it to the other car manufacturers to be aggressive or arrogant.”
While many brands are looking to form dance music tie-ups in an effort to reach millennial audiences – Cadbury recently partnered with DJ David Guetta to promote the 100th anniversary of its Milk Tray product, while brands such as 7up, Smirnoff, Bacardi and K-Swiss have partnered with Tiesto, Steve Aoki, Calvin Harris and Diplo on recent campaigns – this isn’t the first time Volvo has done so.
In 2013 it teamed up with Swedish House Mafia to feature its XC60 car in the trio’s music video and last year worked with Swedish artist Robyn, according to Visser.
“We indeed see other companies aligning with DJs, but in our case it continues a trend that we started a couple of years ago,” he says.
“For us, the audience is new in this case – we’re going to go after a lot of younger people who probably don’t see Volvo as a brand with young appeal. We want to become more relevant to that younger audience.”
The campaign is the latest step in the overhaul of Volvo’s marketing strategy, which it announced last year. The strategy included a bid to become a ‘digital leader’, with the company launching an e-commerce platform.
This also involved a decision to focus on just three international motor shows in Detroit, Geneva and Shanghai to cut millions in costs.
The strategy appears to be paying off, as Volvo president Håkan Samuelsson announced in February that profits rose by 17% to $271m for the company in 2014, driven by record car sales of 465,866, up by 8.9% on 2013. Total sales were also up 6.3%.
He also said overall sales will hit 500,000 cars in 2015, up from 465,866 in 2014, largely due to the launch of the XC90.