Social Media Seems To Steal The Business

When I saw the course list this semester, the first course that came to my mind was this class only because it contained “social media” in the name. A large part why I applied to MBA program is to learn more about social media and digital marketing and then use the knowledge in the future career. This all came from an interesting marketing battle between Volvo and other auto brands during Super Bowl 2015.

Let’s recall this event.

The Superbowl is not only known as the best American Football game of the year. It also is is one of the most watched annual sporting events in the world. During Super Bowl 2015, there were 114.4 million of people have seen the event.


We can imagine that Super Bowl is one of the most expensive advertising spot nowadays, with advertisers paying millions of dollars on a thirty-second spot. Here is the data of the ads during Super Bowl 2015.

So how can a brand like Volvo compete with other big car brands and the millions they invest in Superbowl advertising? The answer was very innovative in marketing: “We don’t, we steal it.”
Volvo promoted a campaign on twitter: tweet its hashtag #VolvoContest during other car brands’ Super Bowl commercials, you will nominate someone who might win a new Volvo XC60 luxury crossover.  WHAT A GENIUS IDEA!!!
Suddenly, the attentions were stolen by Volvo from all the car commercials during Super Bowl, making all the investments on ads from its competitors seemed to be a waste.
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Up to 2,000 tweets per minute every time a car commercial was aired, totalizing over 55,000 tweets and making #volvocontest the only car related trending topic on twitter. 

The initiative, created by Grey, New York, kicks off at 6:30 p.m. ET on Sunday. Selected tweets will get a response from Volvo, asking why each nominee was chosen. Five winners will be selected.
If you want to know this great marketing case:
The case really impressed me a lot and caught my interests in social media and digital marketing, showing how social media can break the normal thinking paths of people and make the business so different.
The key that Volvo could “steal” the business is they correctly used INTERACTION of social media. 
Imagine a triangle, traditional media spread out ideas from the top to the bottom. People just receive the messages from the authors and there is no way for them to feedback or transfer them. However, social media is like a loop. People in the loop transfer the messages and transform the loop into networks. And how to make the loop bigger and bigger, and turn it into networks? Topics become to be win cards. 
Volvo successfully created the topic among the audience before Super Bowl went air and let the audience interact with each other complete this whole marketing campaign.
Somehow, it is not everyone knows how to do it. Many new ad agencies claim that they are good at digital marketing for that they are using social media platform or they are promoting the campaign online etc. But only using social media is not the sign of doing a good job of digital marketing. The spirit of it is not only the pretty content but also how the content can be accepted or empathized by the audience. This is much like a revolution of marketing. The marketers need to think in a new way of how to create “topics” and make them discussed among social media, which is more difficult and challenging.
Meanwhile, social media make marketing more risk even though they spread out the messages faster and wider for three reasons:
1. It is very hard to anticipate how people will react to your marketing content.
They might love it because you bring out the emotion of the local area, at the same time, the people from other areas might not feel anything or even hate it.
2. Worst case is that if some people hate your content, they will negatively comment on it, reversely making your campaign a trash and destroying your brand image.
3. The process of digital marketing is moving all the time. The topics can be changed with seconds. How to control the direction of them and how to grasp opportunities during people’s interaction on social media become new tasks to the digital marketers.
With the technology developing, business is going to be on a new stage which requires a new thinking of all of us. Hope the course can lead us to that.

Sources of Volvo case:




  1. fernanfu89 · ·

    What you point out in this article is really interesting! It is interesting to see companies spending millions of dollars for ads, while others through social media spend much less yet they reach a much bigger and engaging audience. Probably the hardest thing to measure is how consumer spending changes when you have two parallel strategies, one through normal ads and the other through social media.

  2. cgoettelman23 · ·

    This is a genius marketing idea from Volvo, but I had no idea it was going on! I feel like they weren’t able to reach as many people through Twitter as SuperBowl advertisements do (for obvious reasons), but the fact that they were able to get around 2,000 tweets per minutes using their hashtag during any given car commercial makes this a success. What a cool idea!

  3. Great post. I think/ hope you’re in the right class for your needs (the irony is that many of my colleagues think I’m not teaching real content, despite the fact that students and employers are clamoring for it). The key to the initiatives like Volvo is that they need to be original. People are tolerant of companies trying something unique, they’re not so tolerant of blatant copying for self-interested purposes.

  4. chloeshepard18 · ·

    This post is really interesting. It is often hard for smaller companies to compete with those larger than them because traditionally advertising costs money. It is great to see that smaller companies have a fair shot by simply spreading brand awareness over social media.

  5. I like the way you’re thinking about risks – one of the things I wrote about was a crowdsourcing campaign that got out of control. Once something’s out there, you can’t control what people do with it. I’m interested to see if that’s something we discuss more throughout the semester.

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