Via the ever-excellent Ad Contrarian, the tale of what’s been happening to Volvo in the US.

In 2007, both client and agency got bored with ‘Safety’ as a brand proposition and attempted instead to widen the marque’s appeal to encompass BMW drivers too.

Unfortunately BMW is better at being BMW than Volvo will ever be.

The result? Sales down over 30% the first year, 22% the next. Followed by the inevitable offloading of Volvo onto the Chinese.

So what can we learn from Volvo’s mistake?

That differentiation works.

And that copying other brands and looking the same as everyone else does not.


See some Volvo ads, before and after the USP was dropped. I’m sure you can guess which ones were more effective:


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