Cratevertising drives multi-geared Volvo repositioning

Volvo's Canadian extension of its C30 hatchback campaign is about more than 'thinking outside the box.' It's about getting their new target demo to think about what's inside the box.

Volvo Cars of Canada launched one of its largest multi-platform campaigns at the Montreal Auto Show last Friday. Extremely large crates stamped with the message ‘Product of Free Will’ appeared at downtown locations in Montreal, each with holes allowing passersby to peep inside and see the new Volvo C30 premium sport hatchback.

The ‘Product of Free Will’ Canadian campaign was co-developed by Toronto-based Sharp Blackmore Euro RSCG (which also handled media planning for Canada) and Euro RSCG Worldwide/Fuel in the UK. Volvo Canada brand communications manager Jay Owen says the car and the campaign signify a new marketing strategy for the brand, targeting younger buyers aged 25-35 who don’t need to drive their kids around. Historically, Volvo has been a family-focused brand.

The boxes, which will soon hit Toronto, also invite people to visit the campaign’s microsite (, which gives users a 3D box with clickable peep holes that link to fancy photos of the new ride. The OOH aspect of the campaign also includes guerrilla washroom messaging and a free space for artists and cultural innovators to express themselves in an ‘alternative’ showroom on Toronto’s Queen Street West. The washroom features a billboard that people can text opinions to, and see their comments appear instantly. Global TV spots (produced in the UK) have also been posted to YouTube and will air nationally. Live radio commercials, weekly print ads in urban weeklies and online games also drive the campaign’s reach.