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Made by Sweden

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Volvo is one of Sweden's most well-known brands. As a market leading car brand, there is constant pressure to maintain an impressive market share of 20%. It was therefore important to kick off the year 2014 with a strong sales activity and to motivate and pep Volvo dealers.

The car market in Sweden is turbulent, slowly increasing with stiff competition from all major car brands. Maintaining a leadership position is not to be taken for granted.

The primary aims of the Made by Sweden campaign were to re-launch Volvo’s hero product after a facelift late 2013, the Volvo XC70, and maintain the preference for the brand by reinforcing Volvo’s "Swedishness" (despite the current Chinese ownership).

Luckily, Volvo received some help!

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is one of the world's best-known football players. He is from former Yugoslavia, but grew up in Sweden. Today he is a Swedish national icon, just like Volvo. Previous Volvo campaigns had impressed Zlatan and he contacted Volvo for a possible partnership.

As 2014 was election year and a xenophobic party was gaining ground, partnering with Zlatan was a perfect opportunity for Volvo to emphasise Swedishness as well as to spur the debate of who/what truly is Swedish.

Concrete objectives for the campaign:
• Consideration over 50%
• 35% increase in the no. of built XC70 cars on
• 25% increase in the XC70 sales during the campaign period
• Increased number of followers in all of Volvo social channels


Branded entertainment is an increasingly popular way of working with brands in Sweden. The media landscape is scattered and online channels are becoming extremely important in the total media mix. Smartphone penetration and use of social media are about the highest in the world.

Volvo has had a solid social media strategy for years, but since the Leave the World Behind campaign in 2013 which starred Swedish House Mafia, Volvo’s social channels were especially well established providing a great starting point for the Zlatan partnership.

For the Made by Sweden campaign, Volvo decided to invest thousands of man hours in strategy and production meetings between the marketing team, the dealers and the agencies involved in order to create and refine what was to become the most successful Swedish campaign ever and one that has even spread phenomenally globally. 

The strategy was to create branded content pairing Volvo with the national icon Zlatan and then manage to generate a major hype even before it was released - like doing advertising (and PR) for the actual advertising (in this case the branded content). Not unlike a type of Hollywood super movie release campaign, definitely unique for Sweden and this category, with an enticing teaser phase plus a major impact launch. Both phases making the utmost use of the combination of paid, owned and earned media to spread the appealing content to a wide audience.


The 2-minute MadebySweden film was a magnificent tribute to Sweden, Volvo and Zlatan, with the add-on of a new version of the Swedish national anthem by world-famous producer Max Martin.

Teaser (doing advertising for the actual advertising):
• As early as the filming, there were leaks about Zlatan working with Volvo. The media attention was massive.
• This was complemented by paid and owned media, where several teaser films were released to promote the actual film launch.

• On a Saturday evening, the film was launched simultaneously on the internet and on the biggest commercial TV channel. Airing the entire 2-minute film is truly a one-of-a-kind media opportunity in the market. Sweden sat down to watch a TV commercial. Earlier that day, Volvo dealers had pre-screened the film.
• Mindshare had round-the-clock work with social media during the first 48 hours, commenting on people’s questions and constantly serving users and traditional media more material. New technology (a video player) enabled great integration on Twitter and fed the #madebysweden conversations, riding on the hashtag of the popular show during which the film was aired.
• The conversation was picked up by several of Sweden’s most well-known celebrities and influencers, further aiding in the social media explosion.
• Take-overs on major sites with innovative frequency strategies in order to maximise reach.
• Video seeding on relevant blogs.


Ambitious behavioural targeting allowed the agency to follow up on the behaviour of IP addresses during the teaser and launch phases, also using conclusions from the car category in general.


The #madebysweden campaign was unique in how Creative+PR+bought media+social media (Volvo, dealers and Zlatan) all worked together to ensure the impact of the film and assets.

This was one of the (if not THE) most successful campaigns in Sweden ever in terms of buzz and awareness.

• The film has +5.4M YouTube views.
• +250,000 people commented, liked or shared the campaign in social media.
• Followers on Instagram and Twitter more than tripled.
• Volvo & Zlatan trended on Twitter for three days.
• Zlatan's national anthem hit no. 1 on the national singles chart.
• Even though the film was Swedish, it became the second most shared commercial globally during its first week, Super Bowl week.
• Ad Awareness reached an all-time high (75%) and Considered Brand increased by 9%, surpassing the goal of 50%.
• The view-through rate of the film on sponsored blogs was as high as 72.5%.
• The no. of cars built on was 80% higher than in 2013 (objective 35%).
• The campaign generated 870 articles and media touch-downs, reaching almost 200M people.

And last, but not least, sales were 51% higher in Q1 2014 compared to 2013 (objective 25%), which makes this re-launch campaign one of Volvo’s best campaigns sales-wise.  

Hannele Oksman - 03/09/2015

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