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Clever Creative: A Brake-Through in Storytelling

Today's "Clever Creative" from Volvo is "braking" the mold on how car companies advertise product features. Take a moment to check it out.

Clever Creative: A Brake-Through in Storytelling

Posted Friday June 16th, 2017 by in Creativity + Art.

When you were a kid, you may have dreamed about what your future would look like. In today’s “Clever Creative” from Volvo, they use a little girl’s imagination to help her prepare for her first day of school and spin a mesmerizing story.

It may be hard to remember those jitters you got on your very first day of school, but this new ad from Volvo helps jog your memory about how truly terrifying it was. Would you make any friends? What would you learn? Would it be difficult? Did Mom pack the right snack? These are all things that are probably going through this little girl’s mind as she prepares to head off to school. But before she goes, her mom has her imagine what her first day will look like, and eventually what her life will be like. Check out this brake-through in storytelling:

Why our GEMites liked this Clever Creative:

First, we’d like to let you take a moment to catch your breath (since this ad has definitely taken it away). Volvo’s ad highlighting the City Safety Automatic Braking in the new XC60 is one of epic proportions. We love this ad because the cinematic shots of this little girl’s journey through life paired with the elegant music and her excited narrative creates a story that sucks you in and makes you forget that you’re watching a car commercial. All the while it builds up to a moment that could cause these other moments to never exist.

The startling ending delivers a punch-in-the-gut reaction that strengthens the tagline: “Sometimes the moments that never happen are the ones that matter most.” The winning combination of storytelling, beautiful cinematography and a shock-and-awe moment all come together to create an ad that raises the bar for other car company ads.

Why our fellow creatives should like this:

The idea in Volvo’s new ad isn’t a new one, since there were some parallels to the AT&T “The Unseen” commercial we highlighted last year. Also, every car company that has emergency braking in their vehicles highlight it by having the car almost hit someone or something. But, we think our fellow creatives should like this ad because no one has been able to do it this well. Without the storytelling and cinematography in this ad, they’d have something that looked like every other car company’s ad showing their automatic braking system.

Volvo created a narrative that sucked you in and temporarily distracted you from what the ad was really about. It built up the story only to create a heart-stopping moment when you think the little girl will get hit and her future will be destroyed. Once we see that she is alive and her future is safe, we let out a sigh of relief and think, “I need a car that automatically stops for me” (no doubt the goal of the ad). The creative produces a reaction that should make consumers seriously consider getting the XC60, which is rarely accomplished by ads, especially after only viewing it once.

Volvo’s ability to weave a story that gets you invested in the little girl’s future makes this ad great. But add the end that makes you audibly gasp and inevitably leads you to consider buying the product, and that’s what makes it remarkable. This ad’s brake-through in storytelling should serve as the example of how to sell a product.

Let us know what you think, and be on the lookout for next week’s installment of Clever Creative!

If you’re looking for some clever creative of your own, feel free to contact us.


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