Volvo heads downtown with Local 416

A Space of Free Will asks artists, fashion designers and the public to comment on the Volvo C30.

In an effort to move beyond its family-friendly image, Volvo Canada is setting up shop at an art gallery on Toronto’s Queen West to sponsor a month of showcases by local artists and DJs inspired by its C30 car.

The campaign, called Local 416: A Space of Free Will, asks painters, fashion designers and photographers to express their feelings about the C30, a four-seater compact built for city driving.

‘Volvo is a family brand, and they’re trying to extend that brand into the singles market and reach young couples and urban people with active lifestyles,’ Maverick PR’s Annette Yuen tells MiC. ‘And by partnering with people in downtown Toronto, they’re really hoping to drive that message home.’

Yuen says the artists have been given carte blanche to express themselves. ‘The tag line is ‘Tell us What You Think,’ so whether you love it, hate it or feel ambivalent about it, they want to know what people think of this car. We haven’t seen the art yet, so it could be positive or outrageous.’

Jessica Johnson, of media agency Sharpe Blackmore, says the campaign will be supported by banner ads in urban weeklies and wild postings on construction sites and in restaurants. There will also be four branded C30s driving around Toronto, and a white wall at the gallery where people can scribble their comments about the car or whatever strikes their fancy.

The campaign runs June 5 to July 1 at Toronto’s Edward Day Gallery.