Grey London

Core disciplines: Advertising/Creative, Digital

Volvo - LIFEPAINT from Grey London on Vimeo.


Volvo LifePaint breaking the internet with safety.

Volvo is famous for safety. But in the cluttered, competitive space of automotive marketing, safety was becoming a hygiene factor. Hence, the brand was struggling to be heard in the run-up to the launch of their new luxury SUV, the XC90.

The catch - we were tasked to create content that would capture the imagination of our audience, get people excited about new flagship model, but at no point show the car, as it would be embargoed until launch.

But as often happens working inside a constraint forced us to think disruptively – which in turn lead us to an innovative idea – that helped Volvo galvanise opinion worldwide and made safety sexy again.

How? By producing a Volvo-branded safety product for cyclists that would help them not be killed by vehicles.

At its heart was an innovative partnership between Volvo, Grey London and Swedish paint startup Albedo.

Together this team created and launched Volvo - LifePaint: a reflective spray to be applied on clothes. It was invisible by day, but shines bright in the direct glare of headlights, making cyclists highly visible at night. At Grey London we defined the product we needed; we developed it with Albedo; we launched it; we publicised it.

By targeting the premium car audience not as drivers, but as keen urban cyclists, concerned and talking about their safety; we saw the potential to enter into conversations with liked minded individuals on social platforms, blogs, in way that would catapult the brand into popular culture.

Did it work? On one level the product itself was a huge success – it is now an official Volvo spare part, bringing people in to over 1200 Volvo dealers worldwide, to buy it at £10 a can. To date we have sold over 67,000 cans.

Even more than direct dealer footfall, LifePaint successfully tapped into a worldwide, passionate conversation about road safety, creating huge impact for just £75,000 seed budget.

The YouTube launch video for Volvo’s LifePaint racked up more than 6 million views, these were purely organic. There were 42,795 mentions on Twitter of the Volvo brand and LifePaint and 159.3 million media impressions of Volvo LifePaint in over 150 countries.

On average, someone registered their details through the Volvo LifePaint microsite to learn more about LifePaint every 30 seconds. Mashable, Fast Company and Buzzfeed also picked up on it – promoting to their huge audiences.

When world’s mainstream media began to realise that something was happening with Volvo’s new innovation for cyclists, it exploded. There was coverage on ABC News, articles in Time Magazine, in the Daily Telegraph, in USA Today, in The Sydney Morning Herald, even a mention in Wired.

So what started life as content idea, ended up as worldwide phenomenon, a fast selling new product, 2 Cannes Grand Prixs, and a pipeline of Volvo ‘Human Made’ products waiting in the wings.


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