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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Volvo Wants You to be Naughty



The new Volvo S60 is sexy. You heard me right, a Volvo can be sexy with its smooth, flowing lines. I saw the concept car last year here in Detroit and it was the most interesting, beautifully designed Volvo since the P1800. Fortunately the production version of the concept from the 2009 show has remained pretty much intact to become the 2011 Volvo S60.

Yes it is sexy, but is it really naughty? Volvo’s marketing team thinks so. They had some fun prior to the car’s debut today in Geneva with two video teasers promoting the Volvo S60 reveal website: http://naughty.volvocars.com. The two preview videos were a good way to build some buzz about the vehicle’s new website and created a mental shift of thinking of a Volvo as naughty. Naughty definitely sparked some interest since it seemed so far outside of Volvo’s normal brand image of family safety.

Michael Persson, director of global marketing communications for Volvo says “The all-new Volvo S60 is a particularly dynamic car with an exciting design and innovative safety features… We are showing what it can actually do and just how much fun it is to drive.”

The Naughty Volvo Cars website features a couple videos of the S60 aggressively driving in some empty road slaloms. One of the tests is an Elk Test that demonstrates “the S60’s amazing responsiveness in an emergency maneuver.”

After watching the tests the website viewer can submit ideas to make the Elk Test “even naughtier, more playful.” Users are asked to submit ideas with the top five ideas going up for a group vote with the top voted idea to be filmed by the Volvo S60 team.

Ideas are shared on a Discussion board on the Volvo brand Facebook fan page. As of today most of the ideas were not ideas at all, but instead Volvo fans asking for the return of a Volvo S60R as several enthusiasts figured a naughty Volvo implied a fast, Type R Volvo that did not happen today.

The site is pretty straightforward stuff. Navigation is clear and the video content is presented in a clean, easy-to-use format. The use of a Facebook discussion board made for an easier development schedule, but it does seem a bit disconnected since it doesn't warn the user a new window is opening and that the Facebook page is there to submit naughty ideas.

It also still isn’t entirely clear what is so naughty about the S60 after watching the videos and reading the site copy. The message feels very disconnected especially when the site asks, “want it naughty?” It just sees a bit odd for a vehicle that is probably going to sell to wealthy, middle-aged, professional men and women who buy a Volvo to protect their kids.
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