Win a Ride Into Space With Volvo

By Published on .

DETROIT ( -- Volvo is boldly going where no other advertiser has gone. Volvo Cars of North America said it will unveil an online sweepstakes for a chance to win a trip into space during its first ad buy ever on the Super Bowl.

Richard Branson appears in the Super Bowl Volvo ad as an astronaut.

The Ford Motor Co.-owned brand teamed with Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic, which is planning its first commercial space flight in two or three years.

Branson as rocket pilot
Mr. Branson appears near the end of the 30-second commercial, which was created by Havas' Euro RSCG, New York. The spot breaks in the second commercial pod of the game's third quarter and touts the power of Volvo's first eight-cylinder XC90 sport utility. In the ad, Mr. Branson is the pilot of the rocket blasting into space.

The commercial will direct viewers to a Web site,, where visitors can enter the sweepstakes starting Feb. 6, the day of the game, which will be broadcast by Fox. The promotion closes Feb. 22.

Volvo said the prize, which includes three days of pre-flight training, is valued at $200,000.

Ongoing relationship
Thomas Andersson, executive vice president for marketing at Volvo, said Euro facilitated the deal. Volvo in early 2004 worked with Mr. Branson and his Virgin Group subsidiary Virgin Records for the launch of Volvo's redone S40 sedan.

Virgin said Mr. Branson will donate the proceeds from his ad appearance to charity.

Volvo wrapped up an earlier sweepstakes on "Boldly Go" Web site Jan. 26 for a chance to win one of three adventure trips for two, including a trip to Antarctica. That winner will be announced at month's end.

Volvo announced in late December it would advertise in the Super Bowl and within days also unveiled the first online promotion.

'Pregame and postgame interest'
"We lined this up so we could get pregame and postgame interest," Mr. Andersson said, referring to the Super Bowl. Volvo broke a pair of 15-second spots Jan. 31 on TV as well as national newspaper ads touting the V-8 XC90's power and directing people to the "Boldly Go" site.

Mr. Andersson said Volvo's ad spending on the effort is equal to the launch of the six-cylinder XC90 sport utility vehicle, but declined to discuss specifics.

The first XC90 went on sale in December 2002, and Volvo backed it with $800,000 in measured media spending, according to TNS Media Intelligence. But in calendar year 2003, the SUV got $30 million in measured media, according to TNS.

The XC90 is Volvo's best-selling model in the U.S. The marketer sold 39,183 of the SUVs last year domestically.

Most Popular
In this article: