IRVINE, CA: Volvo has begun a major PR push for a national charity fundraising effort to run from October 9 to 11 that will involve 300 of its dealers and more than 100 charities.
Haberman & Associates in Minneapolis and Freeman McCue in Los Angeles, Volvo's existing agencies, have begun contacting media outlets across the country to get attention for the event, dubbed Volvo's Drive for Life Days. Consumers will be invited to test-drive 2005 Volvos with $10 donated to a designated charity for each test-drive.
A PR-training website has been created for dealers, who will handle local media calls during the weekend event, explained Soren Johansson, PR manager for Volvo Cars of North America in Irvine, CA. Volvo is owned by Ford.
The website includes a 90-minute media relations training session for dealers.
PR is the first element of an integrated campaign that will include advertising for the event the week before it takes place, Johansson said.
"This is the first time we've had a truly integrated effort," said Johansson, a 14-year Volvo veteran. In addition to PR and ads, point-of-sales materials also are being created for dealers.
The Columbus Day weekend event is an outgrowth of the Volvo for Life Awards, an annual program that rewards local heroes.
Dealers are being allowed to select their own charities to donate proceeds to as a way of encouraging dealer involvement and enthusiasm for the effort, Johansson said. "We wanted to grow this program from the bottom, and the response has been phenomenal," he said.
Volvo expected 200 of its 348 US dealers to agree to take part, but the number involved has climbed past 300, he said.
Volvo will be showcasing new models, such as the S40 and V50 sports wagon, during the event.