Case Study: How We Launched an Effective Multi-channel Brand Awareness Campaign For the Volvo XC90’s Rebirth


The Swedish Car Manufacturer stopped the production of the old Volvo XC90 in 2015 and launched a new generation of SUV-premium vehicles. By the same year, the new model became available on the Romanian Market. EIT Forum Auto, the official importer, had a strict brand manual to follow for offline campaigns.

He was in need of a strong and extended online campaign, perfectly aligned with the brand manual, to raise awareness over the rebirth of the Volvo XC90. The old model became morally deprecated and people had to find out about the new line of cars and embrace the new identity concept.

The Requirements:
To Herald the XC90’s Rebirth In Line With Brand Manual

Manufacturing of the Volvo XC90 ceased in 2015, being replaced with a new generation of premium SUVs. Their official importer EIT Forum Auto had a strict brand manual that needed to be adhered to when conducting offline campaigns. Also needed was an effective digital marketing campaign to raise awareness of the Volvo XC90’s rebirth and help people embrace the new line and identity concept. This campaign needed to be fully aligned with the brand manual.

The Challenge: to Raise Awareness of the XC90’s State-of-the-Art Technology

When Volvo launched their new generation of premium SUVs, the XC90 had greatly depreciated. At the time of launch in the early 2000s, the model had a significant technological advantage over its competitors, but by 2015, it had become drastically outdated. This led to customers turning to German-manufactured brands in order to stay up to date with new technological innovations.

The launch of the new generation of Volvos had to herald a new era of state-of-the-art technology, while still extolling Volvo’s legendary attributes of safety, comfort and family-friendliness. This was no easy task, as Volvo was no longer being associated with the Swedish as a leader of automotive innovation.

Our Opening Strategy…

We began our approach by identifying the correct mix of channels over which to spread the word and we had to be meticulous in order to find where this target audience resided. The ideal buyers could have used a myriad of websites, but negative selection needed to be avoided across all the channels used to prevent inappropriate association.

We had to exclude websites for children, as well as gambling websites, torrents, online games and wallpapers when designing the marketing campaign. Avoiding news pages and sites recounting accidents was also extremely necessary. Based on this filtering strata, we had to consider many different scenarios when targeting the right audience, due to this scattered audience, including numerous brand migrants. 


Last, but by no means least, all online promotional materials, videos and banners needed to be optimized for online display, with premium locations needing to be secured. Due to the high importance of the campaign being effective, we had to circulate the message via a perfectly-controlled network of digital paths, so that the channel, its positioning, timing and audience profile would remain consistent throughout.

Next Steps…

In order to implement our plan, we used a variety of tools including Google Display, Google Search, Facebook Video Ads, YouTube Video Ads, and Video Remarketing to permeate the attentively selected audience and herald the rebirth of Volvo XC90.

Digital Display Banner Optimization

A bouquet of media buying, Google Display, Google Search, Facebook Video Ads and YouTube Video Ads and Video Remarketing was compiled in order to permeate a wide but attentively selected audience and herald the rebirth of Volvo XC90.

Banner optimization for digital displaying

Once our strategy design was tailored and polished to intricate detail, all promotional materials developed under the brand manual had to be optimized for digital display.

Purchasing Sentient Media

Next, we approached a selection of premium Romanian news, including the most prestigious with the largest readership numbers. A blend of written press, television and niche publications dedicated to car lovers was created, taking into consideration their audiences’ profile and volume., and were some of the selected media channels with whom we acquired premium display positions for digital banners

Campaign screenshot

Campaign screenshot

Google Display: The Painstaking Task of Spreading the News

The media buying campaign was run in conjunction with a Google display campaign to target websites like quality online news publications and others dedicated to covering automotive industry news. 


We worked to ensure that the banners were hosted on thousands of websites, to achieve widespread message circulation. Still, the process had to be actively and continuously optimized to prevent banners landing on pariah websites in terms of brand association.

Campaign screenshot

By End of month 1, Over 2000 Hosted Website Ads Were Removed

We continuously monitored the situation, excluding all gambling, gaming, downloading websites and many platforms that were inappropriate for brand affiliation. All pages covering news or data regarding automobile accidents were also filtered out. Only quality websites were left, ensuring that news of the rebirth of the Volvo enjoyed a premium display position.

Campaign screenshot

Google Search Campaign: Relevance Above All Else

We developed a meticulous Google Search campaign designed so that our ads dominated the results pages. We crafted all ads based on search words and compiled a list of over 200 negative keywords to enhance the relevance of the ad display and avoid inappropriate brand affiliation. All search campaigns were optimized to
make the ads’ extensions visible.

Unisex Facebook Video Ads

Due to different interest anchors based on gender, we tailored the Facebook Video Ads campaign by selecting two distinctive target audiences, one for women and another for men living in urban areas. The same clip was displayed differently, prompting an image with a couple in front of women and the image of the car, along with a call to action, in front of men.

Campaign screenshot

Campaign screenshot

YouTube Video Ads and Video Remarketing to Engage the Audience and Guide It to Discover the Whole Story

As more than 6 million Romanians regularly watch YouTube clips, the channel was considered paramount for spreading brand awareness. Defining the general audience was an elaborate craft but was achieved with a remarketing approach and a granular targeting filter based on users’ viewing history and online interests. 


Users who previously interacted with the official Volvo website were primarily targeted and the video ad was displayed in line with the viewing history of online users.

For example, the ad was streamed before a review clip published by CNET on Volvo XC90, with all ads being highly relevant and perfectly placed. This was to ensure brand purity and avoid contamination of the message’s relevance by inappropriate materials.


Furthermore, we conducted a sequential retargeting approach for viewers exposed to the extended version of the ad and continued the story of the Volvo XC90’s rebirth through a succession of different shorter clips, cementing and adding complexity to the core message.

The Result : A highly relevant campaign that re-engaged Volvo audiences with the best price-quality balance possible.

The client was more than happy with the results we achieved with our multi-channel marketing strategy, which yielded the following results:


  •   During the first month of the campaign, ads displayed on premium positions via media buying registered a click rate of 0.9 – 1.72%. 
  •   The Google Display campaign was by far the most efficient. With a CPM five times smaller than that of Media Buying but with six times more displays generating 1.6s more traffic, the Google Display campaign accounted for 52% of the total exposure of the message.
  •   Google Search offered a click rate 105% higher for mobile than desktop, but with a cost per click 1.6x lower. The engagement on the extension click-to-call was an impressive 7%.
  •   Facebook Video Ads generated 41.8% reactions for women and 35.5% for men. We maintained the cost per view at 0.001 Euro during the whole campaign. For YouTube Video Ads and Video Retargeting, a cost per view of 0.0 Euro was kept stable while the view rate exceeded 35%.

We were extremely satisfied – as was the client – with the results of our multi-channel campaign that focused on delivering a clear message to the right target audience.


If you’d like to see how we can help you transform challenges into growth, get in touch today.

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