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A look back at the greatest interception ever

Volvo Super Bowl Campaign

The greatest interception ever

If you head to YouTube in search of the greatest NFL interception of all time there’s countless videos covering all of the action from Dallas to Pittsburgh, Oakland to Chicago and everywhere else in between where football is more or less a religion in the United States.

But when it comes to the greatest interception that the NFL has ever seen, the action took place far away from any football field, was carried out by a car manufacturer and didn’t feature a single player from any of the NFL’s biggest sides.

The grandest stage of all for American Football is the Super Bowl and in wider sports it sits up their alongside the World Cup Final and the 100 metre sprint at the Olympics when it comes to viewing figures.

It’s also synonymous with the big budget television advertisements that run during the breaks where countless major car brands spend millions of dollars on visibility during these commercial breaks. In 2015; Mercedes-Benz, Lexus, Nissan, Fiat, Toyota, and Kia spent around 60 million dollars combined on advertising their latest models during the Super Bowl.

A look at what Volvo actually did

Volvo didn’t book any airtime for themselves during the big game and instead, they formulated a cunning plan to sweep in, intercept other car brands’ advertising and steal the attention for themselves.

It’s this daring move that’s become known as ‘The Greatest Interception Ever’.

Prior to the Super Bowl Volvo let people know they could win a brand new Volvo for someone they love by simply tweeting the name of the person they would like to give a car to all whilst including the hashtag #VolvoContest during any car advertisement featured in the Super Bowl breaks.

The aim for Volvo was to shift the viewer’s focus from the car advertisements on the TV to their phones where they would be tweeting about Volvo instead.

So did it work?

To say it worked is probably a bit of an understatement as the social conversation shifted completely where there was up to 2,000 #VolvoContest-tweets sent per minute whilst the other car manufacturers’ advertisements aired.

In total, there was over 55,000 #VolvoContest tweets sent. Other car brands all still got their 30-second spots in the limelight, which came at a cost but Volvo was on the minds of viewers for entire game. Their hashtag even became a worldwide trending topic on Twitter.

Volvo became the only car company to trend both nationally and globally during the Super Bowl. Their XC60 model also had a 70% sales growth in the month following the Super Bowl.

They also achieved 200 million dollars worth of social media impressions with their clever campaign, which also seen Volvo’s marketing agency Grey, who assisted with the campaign, win two awards at Cannes for the ingenious marketing stunt.

What can we learn from this?

Even though it’s now a few years since this campaign was carried out, the way that Volvo leveraged Twitter to allow consumers to nominate others to win instead of themselves, was a brilliant use of social media.

The results that the campaign delivered from a social perspective speaks for itself.

There’s also a lot to learn from Volvo’s Interception but we believe that one of the key takeaways is to always keep an eye on what your competitors are doing.

This doesn’t mean you have to match them in terms of monetary value for advertisement space as this campaign from Volvo has proved that point like never before.

By taking a deeper, more thought led process to see if there’s opportunities you could jump on the back off could truly pay off beyond belief with the right creativity and opportunity.

Take a look at how Volvo did it below:


Wilson Cooke
September 14th, 2018