Van Damme breaks record for Volvo

Most watched automotive video on Youtube

‘The Epic Split’ video has been watched more than 60 million times

‘The Epic Split’ video has been watched more than 60 million times

Volvo Trucks is heralding the success of its stunt video, in which Jean Claude Van Damme performs the split between two trucks reversing at speed, after it became the most watched automotive commercial on Youtube. And from the amount of ‘conversation’ it has generated for the brand– it has been the subject of numerous spoofs by celebrities and others – it may be one of the most successful B2B campaigns of all times. 

‘The Epic Split’ video has been watched more than 60 million times since its launch on November 14th, and has now been shared over 6 million times on social networks, and received over 10 million impressions on Google.

As well, the video received extensive coverage in mainstream media, and been the subject of approximately 20,000 editorial pieces online. Volvo has calculated the value of the media coverage to be worth nearly $100 million (€70m). The company did not say how much it had paid to Van Damme to appear in its video.

“The response is quite overwhelming. Sure, we were hoping for a success, but we didn’t expect it to be this big or come this fast. After all, ‘The Epic Split’ is a truck commercial,” says Per Nilsson, PR director for Volvo Trucks.

The video was one of six released by Volvo to promote their new range of vehicles, the FMX, FM, FL and FE. ‘The Epic Split’ shows the precision driving possible with the new Volvo Dynamic Steering, available on these models.

In terms of value for the brand, Nilsson says that Volvo Trucks has managed to “outsmart – not outspend” the competition.

“The reach is mainly a result of public engagement. We can’t outspend our competitors. Instead, we need to outsmart them. Our communication strategy is one part of that,” he said.

The strategy for the brand has shifted from a B2B, to a business-to-consumer (B2C) approach. “Our marketing strategy is based on the insight that also in B2B, individuals make the decisions. Today’s trucks are high tech machines, designed to ease the driver’s work, safeguard driver, load and surroundings and be as profitable as possible. But for the drivers and hauliers, it is not only factors like these that affect their choices, but also the image of the truck they are driving,” said Nilsson.

He believes it’s a strategy that is paying off, with its marketing material reaching more truck drivers and hauliers. “Our own customers refer to these films. But it goes even further – hauliers using our trucks get comments from their customers – transport buyers – about the films. Our ambition is that the engagement the film has spurred will drive awareness and demand for our trucks.”

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