Volvo XC 60

How Volvo won the Super Bowl (without doing a commercial)

This is already a famous story, but I'd like to share it anyway.

In the Feb 2015 Super Bowl, car giants Nissan, Lexus, Toyota, Kia & Fiat spent $4.5 million on a 30 second Super Bowl commercial....each.

But Volvo crushed them.

Volvo XC 60 Ka-Pow


Like a drinking game, every time a commercial for another car brand aired during the Super Bowl, viewers could win a Volvo XC 60 for someone they cared about. All they had to do was tweet why they deserved the car using the hashtag #VolvoContest during the commercial.

New Drinking Game


Volvo's manoeuvre was the ultimate “F you” to the other car companies. It took attention away from the commercial, over to Twitter where everything was Volvo Volvo Volvo.

  • Over 100 different stories were written about the coup. Great PR.
  • Greater than 55,000 people used the hashtag.
  • Volvo trended globally, the others didn't.

The result? Sales went up 70% the following month.

So Why Did It Work?

Volvo hyped up the campaign, two days before the game. They gave an XC 60 away on a talk show to get the ball rolling.

Next they ran another giveaway on exclusively on Twitter. The idea was to push people towards Twitter where the campaign was going to take place.

But the key was targeting their rivals, over 30 second windows. This meant that there would be hyperactivity for 30 seconds on 3 occasions. If they did it for longer windows they wouldn't have been able to hit the velocity required to trend.

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