Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Design With Emotion: Volvo Shows The Way

Here is some truly innovative and beautifully designed "user experience" site for a luxurious and expensive car. The Volvo V50.

The entry scene is set by the natural framing on a city street created by the window of a coffee bar. The photography, initial visual opening of what is beyond the window, and the stylish mini-loops of city life that interplay randomly thereafter create a unique surreal audiovisual atmosphere which is as beautiful as a living painting.


Beyond this initial mini-masterpiece, once can dive in the remaining "experiences" by clicking on the magic object of desire. The car itself. The V50 parked across the street.

Nonetheless the site is in Swedish you can easily learn what the few signposts indicate by just playing around a bit.

I highly recommend that during the mini-journey you give a good visit to the Volvo experience magazine labeled as "Las Magasinet". This is yet another interesting implementation of a traditional paper magazine layout and feel onto a digital computer screen. Fascinating and good feeling indeed. Try it for yourself. The interesting innovation here is that the magazine pages have now animated items inside of them allowing each spread to carry some form of multimedia story or audiovisual showcase.

Navigation throughout the experience is almost completely intuitive and any user even if not able to read the Swedish navigation labels can easily find its way around.

To get back to the initial scene click on the Cafe Centro bag sitting on the sand.
To navigate to the other two areas (press releases and magazine) find two text navigation items below the image on the left side.

Most interesting of all is the road trip into the behind the scenes of this ad production, and actually into the heads and hearts of Bengt Junemo, Volvo Marketing Manager and of Meta Agren, the woman directing the online Volvo ad campaign with the Forsman & Bodenfors agency.

Don't let yourself be put down by the initial labels in Italian. All of the audio and video is in English so stick on and let the video go by itself. Once you get to the map, click on the spot labeled "Volvo" (with a factory icon) and see for yourself how cool video promotion can be, when letting people speak up their hearts. This is not the usual fancy, glossy brochure-like vaporware.

Nonetheless you have no way of talking back, you can hear and understand better why tings are the way they are at Volvo. And not just because someone has selected a buzzy new tagline for this year campaign. You hear the people and the reasons in their hearts behind their choices. This is good conversation for the online world, and one that as an alternative marketing approsch, other big brand names should look up to.

The overall product is very engaging and nonetheless is likely high cost it does an effective job of carrying warmth, emotion and passion to the Volvo fan.

To see and enjoy appropriately these clips, set your browser display in full screen mode (by pressing the F11 key on Windows PCs).

It is probably by further engaging the viewers into these types of immersive, film-like experiences that big brand names may better leverage the communication potential of the Web, though they will need to rapidly integrate tools and facilities that allow the end user to further personalize, edit and refine the overall clip while having the ability to share it and get credit for their good work.

Volvo does an interesting job of online user experience design also in its recent Volvo XC90 mini-site which you can explore immediately here.

This is a completely different approach, with a very mysterious beginning and a slow exploratory 360° pan to final discovery. I won't tell you more.

You need to have a browser that has Flash capabilities and you do need a high speed connection to the Internet to enjoy this. If you are on 56K, skip on this one.

Highly recommended.



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Readers' Comments    
2006-03-15 03:50:40


Your very creative current TV spots, stating Volvo is being blamed for over-population because of its safety program, reminds me of a concern I have had a long time. My concern is that too few people practice birth control, resulting eventually in the loss of the freedom to fuck. That's a major concern to us true Conservatives, who don't want to lose our innate, God-given, rights.

posted by Robin Good on Thursday, October 14 2004, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

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