IRVINE, CA: Volvo is launching its first major motion-picture promotion, with Disney's upcoming Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest.
Volvo, a unit of Ford Motor, has crafted a global, multi-media treasure hunt for a buried Volvo XC90 V8. From June 12 through July 11, booty-hunters in the US, UK, Japan, Spain, and Austria can visit Volvo dealerships to pick up a free treasure map guiding them to online clues and puzzles leading them to the secret burial spot of the pirate-pimped SUV.
In August, Volvo will send seven people who have advanced all the way in the treasure hunt to literally race to unearth the buried car.
Traditional media efforts for the promotion will be tied to PR and media outreach, said Volvo public affairs VP Roger Ormisher. Volvo's AORs are Haberman & Associates, Minneapolis, for brand efforts, and Freeman McCue, LA, for products.
He said the mix of pirates and SUVs is a natural story generator, allowing an unusual hybrid of advertising and PR. Documentary-style spots on network TV and online by Euro RSCG Worldwide will detail the hunt, showing the actual car-burial ceremony and encouraging people to visit a dealer for a map.
"This isn't just another car ad," Ormisher said. "It's an ad with a PR news angle. That's a great opportunity to talk about the brand in a very different way."
That's critical for a company with "a very small ad spend compared to rivals," he noted. "We get a heck of a lot of PR."
Ormisher said he also hopes to leverage Disney's relationships with other brands to create a network of cross-promotional opportunities based on similar values and consumer needs. The goal, he said, is to co-promote Volvo with other brands "that align with our values in the market," such as safety, quality, and environmental care. "That suddenly starts to open doors."