In today’s world of viral videos, marketers are put in the unique position of knowing that if they create something that’s clever and one-of-a-kind, there’s at least a remote possibility that content can spread across the Internet like a wildfire. And recently, there’s at least one video that has done precisely that.
Creating an ad to showcase the precision steering and accuracy of its fleet line, Volvo released a video earlier this month featuring Jean Claude Van Damme. The commercial starts with a close up on the 53-year-old actor’s face and torso and slowly zooms out to reveal that he’s standing on the rearview mirrors of two adjacent trucks, which are traveling slowly in reverse.
With Enya’s “Only Time” playing in the background and the actor spouting a few lines about how awesome his body is, the trucks gradually widen their distance from each other until Van Damme is doing a full split while the trucks continue in reverse. Volvo wants its audience to know the precision with which it makes its vehicles—a point which certainly comes across during the 76-second commercial.
It doesn’t even matter that no one knows what JCVD has been up to for the last decade. Everyone tangentially familiar with pop culture likely knows who the Belgian actor is. For whatever reason, it seems completely natural that after a decade of relative obscurity, he would appear in such a stunt.
While it may seem surprising to you, one thing is very apparent: Volvo knows exactly what it is doing.
In the nine days since it was posted on Nov. 13, the video boasted more than 44 million views on YouTube. And while those views aren’t coming from 44 million people who are necessarily in the market for a fleet of trucks, the Swedish car manufacturer undoubtedly generated a lot of positive press for itself. The combination of a clever stunt done by a famous (at one time) actor and a subtle, soothing song set against a backdrop of a sunset in Spain at a closed-off airfield creates something special. And that’s evidenced in the buzz surrounding the commercial.
The lesson to be learned from Volvo? Create content that is unique and entertaining—content that you can’t wait to share with your friends. I don’t know why I had to send my mother the link to the commercial, but I did nonetheless. So showcase your cleverness and give your audience something to think about and talk about. The strength of your content will do the rest for you.