One-on-One with Volvo Canada’s Brad Painter and Twilight “Journey to the Wedding” contest winner Adilah Rabbani
The global success of American author Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series of four vampire-themed fantasy romance novels has spawned a movie franchise that continues to set box-office records. Volvo automobiles feature prominently in both the books and films as the lead character, Edward Cullen, chooses the stylish automobiles for his personal transportation.
In an effort to capitalize on this rather fortuitous product placement Volvo Cars of Canada has held a series of online contests through the company’s Facebook page to help increase brand awareness. The third such contest, “Journey to the Wedding,” ran from October 19th to November 18th, and a young college student from Delta, B.C. beat out 7,125 contestants to win the grand prize, which included a trip for two to Brazil, as well as the real gem, a 2012 Volvo S60R.
I recently had the chance to catch up with Brad Painter, Volvo Canada’s National Marketing Director, as well as 20-year-old contest winner Adilah Rabbani during the key hand over at Surrey Volvo in Surrey, B.C.
Marketing and Promotion
RP: I haven’t read any of the Twilight books, nor have I seen the movies, but I am aware that the lead character, Edward Cullen, favours Volvo automobiles. Did Volvo approach Summit Entertainment in an effort to place the product in the film, or did the producers approach Volvo?
BP: If you read the books you will find that Edward drives Volvos throughout the story, so I suspect it was a natural decision by Volvo Global for us to be involved with the movies.
RP: Do you think that Volvo’s involvement with the films has attracted customers to the brand?
BP: Yes, I do believe that. The Twilight Saga has such a significant following across such a broad demographic, that it should result in an increase in brand awareness. If it hasn’t resulted in attracting any current customers, I do believe that it will help bring us new customers down the road.
This was the third such contest promotion organized by Volvo to correspond with the release of the latest chapter of the movie. A similar program ran during the same period in the United States.
RP: I imagine that the contest would have to be quite challenging as the opportunity to win both a dream vacation and a high-end automobile is quite the reward.
BP: There were a series of three challenges, all designed around events in the movie. For example, the first challenge required the contestants to unscramble a jumble of letters on a virtual wedding invitation to come up with the correct answer.
The second task was to purchase a gift for the wedding party (the two principal characters get married in the latest film). This required them to navigate a Volvo S60R through an online city to find a certain wedding store. If you managed to complete the first two challenges you would have the opportunity to tackle a maze environment that would lead to the actual wedding event. The player who managed to finish the final challenge in the shortest amount of time would win the game.
RP: How much time did it take Ms. Rabbani to complete the final maze?
BP: Her time was around 18.5 seconds, and there were a lot of contestants who just fell short of her time.
RP: I understand that there is one more instalment in the series. Will Volvo Canada continue to offer similar promotions to coincide with its release?
BP: There is one more movie which was filmed at the same time as the current film, so it will also feature a black, Volvo S60R. Throughout this entire relationship with Twilight we have garnered significant attention for the Volvo brand, and we like that.
The Big Winner
RP: How did you hear about the contest?
AR: One day, while randomly surfing the Internet I stumbled upon the first contest. I just started playing and really enjoyed myself. I never expected to beat any one, so I just played for fun.
I then knew to look for a contest on Facebook just prior to the release of each subsequent movie, so I entered the second and third contests as well.
RP: So it would be silly of me to ask whether you are a big fan of the Twilight books and movies.
AR: Yes, I love Twilight! I have read all the books multiple times, and have seen all the movies.
RP: How did the level of difficulty compare between the three contests? Was this latest one the most challenging?
AR: I did find the tasks and challenges of this latest contest a little more difficult than those of the two prior ones, but I guess this was my lucky year!
RP: I understand that this will be your first car. Pretty nice!
AR: Yes, I am really excited, as the Volvo is such a nice car!
RP: If the S60R had not been offered as a prize, do you think that you would have looked at a Volvo product when it came time for you to shop for an automobile? Or would it not have mattered what type of automobile was being offered as I imagine you would be happy to win just about any new car?
AR: Oh my gosh! That is a tough question. I am sure I would have looked at Volvos, but I would never have bought a car as fancy as this one.
RP: At your young age and as a college student I imagine a premium vehicle like a Volvo would be hard to justify financially.
AR: Yes, it would be tough. It’s a great car, but it would not be affordable for me at this point if I had to purchase it myself.
RP: That is what makes winning such a beautiful prize so special.
AR: You are right. I love this car!