‘Red-letter day’ for Volvo as it goes to the theatre

The car brand’s Irish business agrees partnership with venue operator Live Nation

Adrian Yeates, managing director of Volvo Cars Ireland, in the new XC90: “Safety will always be our number one concern, and that has a conservative dimension, but now we want to go over and above that with a focus on design.”

Adrian Yeates, managing director of Volvo Cars Ireland, in the new XC90: “Safety will always be our number one concern, and that has a conservative dimension, but now we want to go over and above that with a focus on design.”

 

Volvo held a “first look” event in Dublin this week for its new XC90 SUV – billed as “a new chapter” in its design history. The choice of venue, the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, marked the beginning of a partnership between Volvo’s Irish subsidiary and the theatre’s operators Live Nation.

Adrian Yeates, managing director of Volvo Cars Ireland, says the event, hosted by Today FM presenter Anton Savage, was a “red-letter day” for the Swedish manufacturer, which is shifting itself into a more premium market spot. Canapés prepared by Noma-trained chef Haleigh Whelan McManus marked the occasion.

Visitors to the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre and 3 Arena will be met with the sight of a Volvo XC90 parked in the foyer areas as part of a new agreement between Volvo and Live Nation, which Yeates says will lend “an experiential side” to is marketing.

“We are very much aware of the footfall that goes through the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre and the 3 Arena and it’s a wide cross-section of people,” he says. “It is extremely important for us that people see and experience the cars.”

In the SUV market, size matters and sometimes there is no substitute for “coming up close and personal”.

Meanwhile, the presence of rival Audi at the 3 Arena, through the Audi-branded private members’ club, has come to an end with the Live Nation club brand moving in-house.

Yeates says ticket giveaways and “the VIP treatment” at the venues’ events are likely to form part of Volvo’s marketing in future, while over the next 18 months, its showrooms will also be revamped to reflect its “upward shift” in its brand positioning.

A “significant increase” in digital messaging is also around the corner. Yeates, who describes Volvo as “a boutique brand” in Ireland, says it is “looking to be a little more clever in how we communicate” and digital marketing is “easier on the pocket than broadcast media”. Grey London, Volvo’s global creative agency, has been tasked with making the manufacturer “synonymous with the digital channel”.

Locally, marketing spend will increase 45 per cent year-on-year and half of the budget will be directed into digital. The XC90 is the first of a series of product launches by Volvo over the next five years and, while it doesn’t see itself becoming a luxury brand, it has its own “internal definition” of its positioning, which it calls “Scandinavian luxury”.

The “Swedish design” angle is also being played up. “Volvo has suffered in the past from a conservative image,” says Yeates. “Safety will always be our number one concern and that has a conservative dimension, but now we want to go over and above that with a focus on design.”