Volvo Trucks’ Super Bowl Commercial Hits Target

Greensboro, NC —

Volvo Trucks North America, Inc.’s Super Bowl advertisement — its first television commercial and first entry by a commercial truck manufacturer into Super Bowl advertising — ranked highest among automotive-related companies, based on USA Today’s Super Bowl Ad Meter. Volvo Trucks’ 30-second spot was also ranked first among business-to-business advertisers during the Jan. 25 game.

Based on USA Today’s poll of viewers, Volvo Trucks bucked the trend for companies in the automotive category. Historically, commercials in this category have been ranked among the five lowest. Overall, the commercial outperformed household names like Coke, Nike, Federal Express and General Motors, ranking 27th of 52.

“With the right business strategies and products, advertising in the Super Bowl is an investment that pays off,” said Marc Gustafson, president and CEO. “As early as the morning after the game, retail traffic at our dealers had increased. These results show that our unique approach to the commercial truck market is on target and that it will help fuel our growth in 1998.”

When producing the commercial, Volvo Trucks faced the challenge of addressing two audiences — nine million people employed in the trucking industry and 130 million general consumers.

“We know the main message was delivered to the trucking industry, including three million drivers,” Gustafson said. “The survey results show we also met our secondary objective of reaching general consumers with the message that Volvo makes trucks, too.”

Volvo Trucks’ spot aired early in the fourth quarter when the game was tied. “We couldn’t have asked for a better game to reach the attention of viewers,” said Jim Lesinski, director of marketing communications and research. “For 30 seconds, the trucking profession took center stage in over 46 million households across North America.”

“When we made the commitment for the commercial, we recognized the opportunity to not only promote Volvo, but also to paint a positive image for our industry in front of 140 million people. That’s why Gus was portrayed as a friendly, successful, road-wise professional. He represents the type of truckers the Volvo 770 was designed for.”

The spot, titled “Road Sage”, features Gus, a friendly trucking professional who shares his insights from the road. As he comfortably drives a Volvo 770 along a desert highway, Gus offers several bits of priceless wisdom such as, “A haircut shouldn’t cost more than your hat”, and “Always drive the best truck you can.”

Gus represents the kind of drivers who operate Volvo trucks. He’s smart. He understands the importance and value of selecting the right piece of equipment to get the job done. And, he’s not afraid to break away from the pack.

According to Gustafson, Volvo Trucks is actively considering whether to become a perennial Super Bowl advertiser. “Early indications show this effort will boost the image of the Volvo brand and boost sales of Volvo trucks. If they hold true, let’s just say there’s a good chance we’ll be back.”

The commercial was part of the six-month “Best Drive in the Game” promotion, which also featured Super Bowl Truck Stop Parties for truckers at 40 locations in the United States. The promotion concludes in March at the industry’s largest trade show, when a Volvo 770 truck, valued at $120,000, will be awarded to the winner of the “Best Drive in the Game” Sweepstakes.

Volvo Trucks North America, Inc. manufactures Class 8 Volvo trucks and tractors. The company leads the heavy truck industry in the areas of safety research and development, quality manufacturing processes and environmental care. The company also markets Volvo heavy-duty diesel engines, transmissions, axles and rear suspensions. Headquartered in Greensboro, N.C., the company is a subsidiary of AB Volvo.