Matthew Miller
Dec 10, 2014

Volvo takes the scenic route for XC60 in China

CHINA - Volvo purposely steps away from its long-standing focus on safety in a new China campaign for its XC60 crossover. But what message is the company conveying instead?

wide player in 16:9 format. Used on article page for Campaign.

Client: Volvo China

Agency: Grey Group Shanghai

Market: China

Campaign scope: TVCs and print ads for Volvo's XC60

Press release quote: "Grey Group Shanghai avoids from the tried and tested Volvo’s ad campaigns, which mainly emphasised on safety and protection for the families, and opts for a sensory brand approach that would better connect with the middle class and social elitists in China."

Translation of voiceover for non-Mandarin speakers (provided by Grey):

The sound of wind is more pleasant to the ears than the one of applause
The sun is more dazzling than a title
Trial and failure are more exciting than success
The better view is always seen on the road
Don’t rush your ride, go feel it.

Comments: Gorgeous scenery? Check (the TVCs were filmed in Sweden and Norway). Winding road devoid of any other traffic? Check. Golden-throated voiceover artist? Check. Stirring soundtrack? Check. Anything that makes this ad stand out from countless nearly identical car ads from the last 50 years? Nope.

It's undeniably pretty, and we'll grant that it focuses on the sensory experience. And maybe it even works for the designated target market of middle class and social elitists. But until that's proven, we have to question the wisdom of ignoring the company's hard-won association with safety in favour of, well, an utter lack of an identifiable message—other than, 'Here's our nice car which you should buy'.


Client: Volvo China
Sven Desmet, marketing VP
Fiona Lam, brand director
Simon Han, marketing communication director
Karen Chen, Creative Brand development senior manager
Grey Shanghai team:
Haidong Guan, executive planning director
Attlee Gu, ECD
Stephen Liu, group CD
Punk Pan, senior art director
Tony Chang, art director
Min Tsai, senior copywriter
Gerald Hu, group business director
Justice Yeh, group account director
Rinka Zhang, associate account director
Enid Zhang, senior account executive
William Yang, TV producer
Rita Qin, creative service
Grey London team:
Camilla Ashenhurst, business director
Joseph Ernst, creative director
Sarah Quinn, account director
Alex Nixon, account executive
Robert Morgan, TV producer
Glen MeLeod, print producer
Media agency: Mindshare Shanghai



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