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How Volvo Trucks, Jean-Claude Van Damme, and “The Epic Split” Redefined Marketing

volvo trucks the epic split campaign

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Volvo Trucks, renowned for its powerful and reliable vehicles, took the marketing world by storm in 2013 with its “The Epic Split” campaign.

This wasn’t your average commercial filled with generic truck footage and voiceovers. It was a daring, visually stunning spectacle that pushed the boundaries of advertising and left audiences awestruck.

The Challenge: Breathing New Life into a Traditional Brand

Pior to “The Epic Split,” Volvo Trucks relied on a more conventional approach to marketing, utilizing press releases, social media, and traditional media outlets.

However, they desired a campaign that would truly capture the imagination and showcase the innovative features of their trucks in a unique and unforgettable way.

Enter Jean-Claude Van Damme and the Birth of a Viral Sensation

The answer came in the form of a series of commercials titled “Live Test,” each showcasing a different aspect of Volvo Trucks’ technology through a seemingly impossible feat. The sixth and most successful of these commercials, “The Epic Split,” featured none other than action movie legend Jean-Claude Van Damme.

volvo trucks the epic split

The ad opens with Van Damme standing between two Volvo FM trucks slowly reversing away from each other. As the tension builds, he performs a perfect split, his feet resting on the mirrors of each truck.

The scene is captured in slow motion, accentuated by the ethereal music of Enya’s “Only Time.”

The final shot reveals the trucks positioned perfectly parallel to each other, a testament to the precision and stability of Volvo’s Dynamic Steering technology.

Beyond the Split: A Marketing Masterstroke

The commercial was an instant viral sensation.

Within a week, it had garnered over 25 million views online, and within nine days, it surpassed 40 million. It generated immense buzz on social media, earned widespread media coverage, and even led to a resurgence of Enya’s hit song.

It was a perfect marriage of creativity, celebrity power, and a clear message. Van Damme’s association with action and control perfectly aligned with the message of Volvo’s precise and powerful trucks.

The campaign generated a lot of brand awareness but also positioned Volvo Trucks at the forefront of technological innovation.

A Legacy of Epic Proportions

“The Epic Split” remains a landmark achievement in automotive advertising. It serves as a testament to the power of pushing boundaries, embracing creativity, and finding unique ways to connect with your audience. The campaign’s impact continues to be felt even today, solidifying its place in marketing history as an “epic” example of how to do it right.

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