WHERE TO FIND IT: www.yahoo.com/promotions/roadrally97/
CRITIQUE: As William S. Burroughs once said, "Every soul is worth saving, at least to a priest, but not every soul is worth buying." Now Volvo wants in on the saving act as well with its "A Volvo That Can Save Your Soul" campaign. The company is the latest marketer to use the video-in-a-banner technology created by InterVU with its new promotion.
Following the free-stuff-is-good axiom, Volvo is sponsoring a Web contest to win a real-world vacation to one of four destinations in its online Road Rally. The goal is to integrate Volvo's online and TV campaign using video from the commercials in the banner.
To enter the contest, users guess the destinations, based on clues. The tagline appears with each correct guess. Does the tie-in work? Mostly. By hitting would-be winners over the head with the marketing message and plenty of info on Volvo cars, the overall effect is about as subtle as a being hit with, say, a big square car. The questions are insultingly easy, which Volvo can get away with because this promotion has no need to lure visitors back with compelling content. Play it once, and move on. As a one-shot site, it works, but the company will have to keep coming up with new reasons for surfers to hit Volvo if it really wants to increase brand awareness in the long term.