Viral marketing huge success for Volvo Trucks

(December 12, 2013) With its latest commercial, "The Epic Split," Volvo Trucks proves that an unconventional take on B2B marketing works. The commercial has spread all over the world and is already after just four weeks the most watched automotive commercial on YouTube ever.

Since the launch of "The Epic Split" on YouTube on November 14th, the commercial has been viewed more than 59 million times. It has spread through social media and news media, been the subject of thousands of conversations online and offline and even become a phenomenon in itself, spurring spoofs from both celebrities and others.

“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 the Volvo Trucks brand.

The Epic Split has now become the most viewed automotive commercial on YouTube ever and the response in the first four weeks can be summarized in numbers.

Statistics and approximation from Be On, AOL Networks' branded video syndication business who distributed the campaign. "The Epic Split" and the story about it has now :

• been shared over 6 million times on social networks.

• over 10 million impressions on

• received extensive media coverage from all over the world: the commercial has been the subject of approximately 20,000 editorial pieces online so far.

• an estimated earned media value of £59 million.

Since Autumn 2012, Volvo Trucks has released six entertaining films to showcase innovations in the five new trucks released during the same period. For example, "The Epic Split" a film that highlights the precision and stability of Volvo Dynamic Steering is the biggest success amongst the films so far.

“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,” says Per Nilsson.

The communication strategy itself is part of a larger shift in how Volvo Trucks market their products to a wider audience. Simply put, it is B2C marketing of B2B products.

“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 the driver, load and surroundings and be as profitable as possible. But for the drivers and haulage companies, it is not only factors like these that affect their choices, but also the image of the truck they are driving,” says Per Nilsson.

Marketing material that has an impact on everyone, will also reach more truck drivers and haulers, Volvo Trucks resonates. And it works.

“Our own customers refer to these films. But it goes even further as haulers using our trucks get comments from their customers — transport buyers — about the films,” Per Nilsson says.

He adds, “Our ambition is that the engagement the film has spurred will drive awareness and demand for our trucks. Through a relatively small media investment, we’ve had a massive response. Our strategy has proven to be a very smart and cost-effective way to communicate utilizing the new media landscape.”