Green is back in with Volvo's S80 ads

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Volvo Cars of North America goes green in an upcoming ad campaign.

The marketer will tout the pollution-fighting radiator of its S80 sedan in a new national print and TV push starting later this month. The S80, Volvo's priciest vehicle, was launched at the end of 1998 with infomercials.

"This is a shot in the arm in terms of exposure for the S80," said Bob Austin, director of marketing communications at Volvo. "We don't want people to forget about" the car, he said.

An insert on recycled paper breaks in USA Today Jan. 28. It's followed by page ads and spreads in The Wall Street Journal, and in dailies in Volvo's 10 leading markets.

Messner Vetere Berger McNamee Schmetterer/Euro RSCG, New York, created a new tag for the car: "The Volvo S80. Luxury inspired by life."

SUTHERLAND NARRATES

The agency created a 30-second TV spot that breaks Jan. 30. Actor Donald Sutherland, who has long done voice-overs for Volvo, narrates how the car "is leaving the world a little better for having gone through it." Computer-generated birds fly through scenes of the S80 driving through Florida's Everglades.

Although the estimated $10 million push includes broadcast, most of the TV buy is national cable. The campaign continues through February.

Of the 116,692 cars Volvo sold last year in the U.S., 33,549 were S80s, according to Automotive News.

Mr. Austin projected the car would account for 25% of sales in the year 2000.

Volvo was acquired by Ford Motor Co. a year ago, and it's no secret Ford Chairman William Clay Ford Jr. supports protecting the environment. He has made that a key part of Ford's corporate mission. But Mr. Austin said that didn't prompt the ad campaign.

"We wanted to take advantage of being the only carmaker with [the radiator called] PremAir," Mr. Austin said.

The radiator contains a catalytic converter that turns ground-level ozone pollution into oxygen.

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