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Jean-Claude Van Damme’s Splits: What Brands can Learn from Volvo’s Commercial

Jean-Claude Van Damme, a renowned action star from movies such as Universal Soldier, is featured in Volvo’s recent commercial promoting “the stability and precision of Volvo Dynamic Steering.” And in just two days, the video has received over 9 million views.
Celebrity endorsement is very powerful. Unprecedented videos can be even more intriguing. Here are 3 things brands can learn from Volvo’s new commercial:
  1. Increase brand recognition through outrageous commercials

    Let’s admit it – we like the video not only because it features Jean-Claude, who happens to be one of the most thrilling actors ever, but also because it’s beyond our imagination. According to consumer behavior theory, consumers normally have a set of events, or script, written in their minds before they engage in an action. For instance, if a person plans to eat at a restaurant, the script she’ll develop is that she’ll enter the restaurant, receive the menu and hear about the daily special, eat the meal, and pay for the bill. If any event occurs aside from the script, it’ll disturb her substantially, as she didn’t expect it. This same idea can be applied to commercials. When a consumer watches a commercial that she didn’t expect, she’ll react to it greatly. This why companies produce unusual commercials – to help consumers remember their brand more vividly.

  2. Boost brand exposure through unforeseen commercials

    By creating commercials that are mind-blowing, brands can enhance the online virality of their video. Take “Gangnam Style” for an example. The K-Pop video reached 805 million YouTube views last November just after 21 months of its release, breaking YouTube’s all-time record. This video gained popularity purely based on its unique plot, props, and dance routine. Similarly, the Van Damme video is utilizing the same approach. By having Jean-Claude doing the splits on two moving trucks, Volvo can capture their viewers’ attention and encourage them to share the video. This is a sound tactic in today’s digital world. With the prevalence of social media today, lateral communication, or word-of-mouth, is only one click away. Consumers can now watch a video, enjoy it, and share it with hundreds of their friends within a few minutes. Hence, it’s no wonder that Volvo (or whoever produced the video) used the right side of their brain to produce a creative advertisement to increase its brand exposure.

    If you're interested in improving your brand exposure or appeal, contact one of our consultants and learn about our branding services: Brand Strategy Roadmap and Brand Identity Creation.

  3. Select songs that shape your brand

    In the Van Damme video. Volvo chose the song “Only Time” by Enya to portray the seamless, smooth engineering of its automobiles. This is a common tactic used by brands as companies often begin a commercial with a song and then gradually introduce their product or service. This approach allows brands to encourage consumers to associate the feeling of the song, whether it’s happiness or sorrow, to the brand. Nike for example, often starts their videos with the sound of a basketball bouncing on a court. This can arouse excitement and in turn, encourage consumer to transfer this emotion to their brand.

We as humans love excitement by doing activities we’ve never done before or watching videos that are unexpected. Volvo has certainly captured this essence by creating an astounding commercial. By producing this inspiring, extraordinary ad, Volvo has surely grasped the attention of millions of consumers and positioned itself as one of the world’s trendy automobile engineers.
To read more content about branding strategies or tactics, visit our Branding Insights page.