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Volvo Cars of North America Pioneers World's First Fully Integrated Interactive Television Advertising Promotion

NEW YORK -- Volvo Cars of North America announced today that it has launched the world's first fully integrated promotion -- with interactive TV playing a major role. This follows the recent success of Volvo Cars' groundbreaking Internet-only launch of the new Volvo S60 sedan on America Online that delivered over 27,000 sales leads into showrooms nationwide.

Messner Vetere Berger McNamee Schmetterer/Euro RSCG (MVBMS), Volvo's advertising agency of record, and FUEL North America, the integrated marketing communications unit of MVBMS, have teamed with Cylo, a convergent media solutions company, to build upon Volvo's existing presence as a sponsor of the NCAA basketball tournament by building a fully integrated promotion employing numerous varieties of broadcast, interactive, and wireless media.

This effort -- launched on March 15 -- is designed to promote ``REVOLVOLUTION'' -- Volvo's new ``rallying cry'' that has been developed to redefine the way the Volvo brand is viewed by consumers. This ``Road to the Volvo S60'' campaign will culminate in a live event broadcast via the Internet on April 2, the day of the NCAA Championship game.

This promotion, focused on the new Volvo S60 sports sedan, will run throughout the NCAA ``March Madness'' playoffs, where consumers will be invited to enter a contest to win a Volvo S60. A myriad of touchpoints have been created that will promote Volvo's message via television, the Internet, interactive television, email, Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) and WAP-enabled mobile phones. Through these venues, consumers will be offered a simple and unobtrusive means of entry to the contest. The winner of the Volvo S60 will be announced on the April 2 webcast.

Each entry into the contest will be confirmed via a personalized rich email from Volvo, which will invite entrants to visit revolvolution.com, where they will not only experience REVOLVOLUTION, but will have the opportunity to participate in activities that can lead to other rewards. Consumers who choose to fill out a survey and enter into a dialogue with Volvo, for instance, will be entered into a drawing for tickets and a trip to the ``Final Four'' in Minneapolis on March 31.

Mark LaNeve, CEO of Volvo Cars of North America, explains the goals of the promotion: ``Volvo's target customers are among the earliest adopters of new technology. Just as we created the first automotive website back in 1994, we've continued to use new technology in a practical, targeted way to qualify potential buyers and initiate a deeper relationship with them.''

``This program, like our recent online launch of the S60 on AOL, is designed to not only let Volvo interact with a new group of tech-savvy consumers, but to provide us with actionable learning about the various forms of new media that we're using -- and how consumers are using each of them,'' said Phil Bienert, Manager of CRM and E-Business for Volvo Cars of North America. ``What we learn from this program will clearly inform our future decisions regarding these technologies,'' adds Bienert. ``This isn't about throwing dollars at a new medium just for the sake of being in the space. It's about going to the places where our customers are, testing how they react to this integrated approach, and leveraging the learning to communicate better with them.''

``Forward-thinking companies like Volvo have always tapped the power of emerging media in a strategic, thoughtful way,'' said Ron Berger, CEO, MVBMS. ``As part of our agency's ongoing exploration of platforms like interactive television and wireless communications, we believe that opportunities like this one help create new models of marketing communication for the future.''

``Television is the world's most ubiquitous and trusted electronic medium,'' says Kirt Gunn, President, Cylo. ``When a television can act as a two-way conduit between the viewer and entertainment, and the viewer and the advertiser, the medium becomes significantly more powerful. Television builds community around the event, while the other platforms add important access points for every digital consumer. As always, Volvo is thinking ahead of the curve and employing the right communication to reach the right consumers.''

This Volvo promotion is the first program to emerge from a year-long arrangement between MVBMS and Cylo, initiated in December 2000. This agreement calls for the joint development of interactive TV and other new media paradigms on behalf of the MVBMS client roster. ``We're very excited that, only three months into our exploration with Cylo, we've developed a viable, appropriate use of this new technology for one of our most forward-thinking clients,'' said Berger. ``Combining our deep understanding of the Volvo brand with Cylo's solid relationships with leading players in the interactive space has resulted in a perfect match of brand and new media.''

Below is a brief summary of the elements of this campaign, along with the leading interactive entities involved:

Television: A new S60 spot, customized to drive people to the contest through the Internet, will begin airing with CBS's March Madness game coverage and run through the Championship. There will also be CBS in-game presence.

Internet: Ad placements linking to the specially created Volvo ``microsite'' will appear on CBS's Sportsline.com. Consumers who click to this site will also receive information on how to enter the contest as well as information on the Volvo S60 and links to Volvo's online car configurator.

Interactive Television: A special arrangement through WebTV will include interactive Volvo ads and banner that allow WebTV viewers to enter the S60 contest, promotion of Volvo throughout the service, and a Volvo S60 promotional video that loads at the log-in point. WebTV will partner with Cylo and MVBMS to offer in-depth research on the success of the interactive television component.

Wireless: A full-color promotional video on the S60 contest will be available for mobile users to access on their PocketPC personal digital assistants (PDAs) at http://www.pvairguide.com. Users with PacketVideo's PVPlayer software downloaded onto their device can view the video clip and then gain access to information on the contest. PDA and WAP-enabled mobile phone users will also be able to access Volvo-sponsored NCAA content from CBS Sportsline. Through go2's wireless sites http://www.go2.com and http://www.go2hoops.com, users will also be able to access the exclusive Volvo-sponsored NCAA scores page and enter the contest directly from the PDA or phone. Similar NCAA updates will be delivered to non-WAP phones using SMS messaging.

Cross Platform Hosting and Reporting: Data from all entry points will be aggregated into one database. This will allow Volvo to analyze the overall success of the campaign and the success of the communication over each independent platform.

The 2001 Volvo S60 is a sophisticated European sedan that marries sporty performance with state-of-the-art safety. Built on the highly successful platform that is the basis for the elegant S80 luxury sedan, the S60 adopts the fluid styling of the new Volvo design language in a mid-sized sedan that is expected to be a core product for the company.

Volvo Cars of North America is part of the Volvo Car Corporation of Goteborg, Sweden. The company provides marketing, sales, parts, service, technology and training support to 328 Volvo automobile retailers across the country. The 2001 Volvo automobile line includes the flagship S80 luxury sedan, versatile V70 wagon and rugged Cross Country, C70 coupe and convertible, the new sporty S60 sedan and compact S40 and V40 models.

SOURCE: Volvo Cars of North America
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