Volvo have launched their new car the C30 on the back of the line "Love it or Hate it." I'm going to ignore the fact that I have heard that line somewhere before, and carry on with making my point.
My point is that the stereotypical view of Volvo is that they neither inspire love nor hatred; they are the very definition of bland. The great thing about the Marmite campaign was that everyone does either love it or hate it, you get very few sitters on the fence.
Marmite was then founded on a very simple but very perceptive piece of consumer insight.
I'm not sure that Volvo can claim the same for their new campaign though. A great consumer insight about Volvo would be that everyone thinks they are boring, middle of the road, uninspiring (etc).
Instead it seems like they have tried to manufacture a controversy out of nothing.
And if you look at their website which is http://www.volvocars.com/campaigns/MY07/C30/OpenDoors/default.htm
they are practically begging for people to have extreme opinions. Which I'm not sure they will - I can imagine most people will be left fairly ambivalent and maybe a little confused by their latest campaign.
The car brand that for me has shown the best consumer insight of (semi) recent times is Skoda - they directly steered towards the reputation that Skoda's had of being complete heaps of junk and made it integral to their campaign.
If you look at this commercial, and compare it to the frenetic mix of Volvo's new campaign, it's clear which one is based on the purer consumer insight (I actually struggled to find the images I remember from the campaign, but hopefully this one illustrates my point:
Anyway I'd prefer clear strategy that comes from a great consumer insight over frenetic, let's try and shoe horn some controversy to drive user engagement in order to tick the web 2.0 box any day.
I hate bitching about something that has had so much time and effort put into it, but I just think Volvo missed a trick by not 'doing a skoda' and addressing the topic that may be most painful for them (i.e. their cars are dull) but may have the most traction with consumers.
Said my piece for today.
Have a nice evening all round.