A while back, Men's-issue advocate Glenn Sacks was leading the call against Volvo shacking up with Arnold Worldwide. The contention centered around how men and fathers are portrayed in some of Arnold's work. At stake was $150 million in advertising dollars from the Swedish brand. The decision has been made, and despite the hue and cry, Boston-based Arnold won the contract away from incumbent EuroRSCG. It was actually a joint victory -- Arnold will be teaming up with London's Nitro as they move ahead with Volvo.

[Source: Volvo via Swedespeed]


For the automaker's part, Volvo feels confident that Arnold's knowledge and experience when it comes to automotive advertising will help Volvo's push for sales growth. The immediate efforts will focus on a global rollout of the V70 and XC70 models, Volvo's best sellers. Arnold's creative concept must have fit right in with Volvo's goal of emphasizing their long history of safety developments, care for the environment, and Scandinavian design. We hope we see the same type of magic Arnold mustered for VW in the 1990s alight on the Volvo brand. A focused effort to point out the brand's strengths would do wonders, we think. There's been a lot of swagger in the advertising of brands like BMW, Mercedes, Audi, Acura, and even Lexus. Those brands have more cohesive campaigns with higher concept television spots dovetailing nicely with print ads. Volvo's TV campaigns over the last five years have been inconsistent, at best. The one we remember best is the sound-design-extravaganza S60R commercial. From that high point, we landed in a trough of cheesy spot hell with the "Volvo is responsible for overpopulation" fake newscast ads. We can't recall any Volvo print ads from the last five years, either. We're sure they exist, they're just not memorable.

There isn't any word yet on what Arnold presented to Volvo that clinched the job, but we hope it portrays fathers in a good light, as fatherhood advocacy groups will be watching. It'd be nice to see a move away from the Volvo driving soccer mom stereotype, as well as the boxy but good faux-catchphrase that hasn't applied since 1998. There's not even any need to create commercials with the "dunce father" caricature, as the cars themselves are handsome to behold and offer enough performance for a chain-smoking, gravel throated voiceover artist to brag about.


PRESS RELEASE

Boston Arnold/Nitro London appointed as new global advertising partner for Volvo Car Corporation

Volvo Car Corporation has concluded its global advertising agency review and appointed the team of Boston-based Arnold and London Nitro as the new global agency partner. Volvo Cars' strategic marketing platform has been reviewed since last December. This week the executive team decided on Arnold/Nitro based on the power of the agency's ideas to move the brand forward, and their ability to work with Volvo Cars globally.

"Through focused strategic thought, and an inspiring creative idea, we believe they are the best agency team to accelerate the momentum of our brand", says Tim Ellis, director of global advertising at Volvo Car Corporation. "We wanted a powerful, overarching single-minded idea that could leverage and emotionalize our rich heritage in safety, Scandinavian design, and care for the environment".

The Arnold/Nitro team will be globally led out of Arnold's Boston office and will be responsible for managing the strategic and creative development of advertising for worldwide use. The team's first assignment will be the creation of the upcoming global launch campaigns for the all-new V70 and XC70, the two models which were presented earlier this year at Geneva Motor Show and represent the highest volume of cars within the Volvo portfolio.

"We feel that the Arnold/Nitro team is characterized by insight, passion and energy; and for us, that's a perfect fit", says Tim Ellis. "Moreover, they are a solid, down-to-earth team with global experience, and extensive knowledge of the extremely competitive car industry", concludes Ellis.

Four international agencies participated in the last round of the pitch, including the incumbent, EuroRSCG based in New York and London; 180 based in Amsterdam, Netherlands; and Fallon Minneapolis and London.

This agency change will have an immediate effect on the two current creative centers in London and New York. There is no direct effect on other local agreements with advertising agencies globally.