Volvo’s Van Damme video officially a hit

Updated Dec 18, 2013

volvo_trucks_van_damme_epic_splitIt was an epic moment for Volvo Trucks as the commercial ‘The Epic Split’ became the most viewed automotive commercial on YouTube ever. The success is the result of great content in combination with a strong and consistent communication strategy.

Since the launch of ‘The Epic Split’ commercial on YouTube, it has created a massive engagement all over the world with more than 59 million views in only four weeks.

“It is quite overwhelming. Sure, we were hoping for a success, but we didn’t expect it to be this big or come this fast,” said Per Nilsson, PR Director for the Volvo Trucks brand in Europe.

“We believe the results are due to a fantastic piece of content and our communication strategy, a strategy that we’ve consistently carried out for a long time,” said Nilsson.

7 million views in one day
‘The Epic Split’ was solely released on YouTube on November 14. Already on the first day, the film was viewed over 6.5 million times and shared over 32 thousand times. It quickly became the most shared film on YouTube. On the best day so far, ‘The Epic Split’ commercial had over 7 million views. The launch of the film sparked intense activity on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Reddit.

“People shared and commented the film over and over again. This level of engagement is more important than the number of views on YouTube,” Per Nilsson says.

Success in numbers
‘The Epic Split’ has not only become the most viewed automotive commercial on YouTube ever. The response in the first four weeks can be summarized in numbers.*
‘The Epic Split’ and the story about it has:
• been shared over 6 million times on social networks.
• over 10 million impressions on
• received extensive media coverage from all over the world: the commercial has been the subject of approximately 20,000 editorial pieces online so far.
• an estimated earned media value of €70 million, or approximately $93.3 million.

Multi-level storytelling
‘The Epic Split’ is an example of multi-level storytelling. There is the story of Volvo Trucks, the story of actor Jean-Claude Van Damme and the story of the commercial and its creation. All emphasized by the emotional music of artist Enya. This complements the story of the precision and stability of Volvo Dynamic Steering that makes it possible for Van Damme to do a split while the new Volvo FM trucks reverse.

”People pick up on and start to talk about all these stories. The more emotions and reactions the film evokes, the more conversations are started, which makes the film spread and we reach out with our message effectively and in a spectacular way,” said Nilsson.

An important aspect of the success of ‘The Epic Split’ is that it builds a fan base for the future.

“For instance, Volvo Trucks’ YouTube channel has more than tripled its number of subscribers since the launch, subscribers who will be reached by new films in the future,” said Nilsson.