'A Terrible Idea.' Volvo Reminds Us How We First Reacted to Seatbelts

F&B takes a look back, as the automaker pushes even further into safety

"A Million More," a new commercial by Forsman & Bodenfors in Sweden for client Volvo, is an emotional piece of work that centers on survivors of car accidents. At the ad's start, they read dispatches of public outcry from 1959, when Volvo released its three-point safety belt. Among them: "The seatbelt is a violation of human rights."

It's timely work, given we still have lots to say about minor physical inconveniences that save lives. And while Volvo alludes to that in its press release ("It sounds eerily familiar, even today"), it wisely opts to stay focused in the creative.

After reading those comments, survivors talk about their own experiences. You never hear a full story, but it is more than enough. At the end, Volvo says its safety belt has saved over 1 million lives. This year, it introduced a speed cap in all new cars, and is rolling out in-car cameras to prevent intoxicated and distracted driving—both just as controversial, the brand says.

"Safety has always been at the core of Volvo Cars, but it's not uncommon for some of our innovations to face resistance when they are first introduced," says Mike Johnstone, head of brand management at Volvo Cars. "Like the safety belt in 1959, the 180-kph [about 112 mph] speed cap introduced on new cars this year faced criticism for its perceived intrusion on personal freedom, but they are both there to save lives. Sometimes it takes uncomfortable and controversial decisions to do the right thing."

"A Million More" is scored by European composer Jacob Mühlrad, best known for being the youngest composer to ever have a piece performed at the Royal Swedish Opera.

"My ambition was to find a tone that suited the emotional stories shared in the film. I watched the uncut interviews and found inspiration in the slow tempo, the fragility and tone in their voices. It was an interesting challenge," Mühlrad said.

The campaign went live this week across social channels and on TV. There will also be an out-of-home push.


Volvo Cars – A Million More

Advertiser: Volvo Car Corporation
Louise Ahlström – Campaign Manager
Andreas Malm – Global CMO
Mike Johnstone – Global Brand
Agustín Soriano – Global Brand Strategy
Auste Skrupskyte – Creative Strategy
E-mail Client: louise.ahlstrom@volvocars.com
Year: 2020
Airdate: October 14, 2020

Agency: Forsman & Bodenfors
Art Directors: Sophia Lindholm, Karl Risenfors, Leo Dal
Copywriters: Hampus Elfström, Nicholas Düfke
Client Director: Magnus Wretblad
Account Executive: Ewa Edlund, Katarina Klofsten
Agency Producer: Anna Junker Lundin
PR Strategist: Bjarne Darwall
Planner: Daniel Sjöstrand
Digital Strategist: Peter Gaudiano
Web Design: F&B Inhouse
Artwork: Martin Joelsson, Christian Sundén

Media Agency: Mindshare

Title: XC60 "Family Safety"
Director: Laerke Herthoni
Producer: Kalle Wettre
Production Company: New Land
D.O.P: Mattias Rudh
Executive Producer: Sophie Tamm Christensen
Stylist: Johanna Borggren
Production Designer: Catharina Nyqvist
Editor: Johan Söderberg, Miguel Angel
Grade: Joakim Rissveds
Sound Design: Adrian Aurelius, Ballad
Online: Peter Törnestam, Chimney

Photographer: Mattias Rudh

Song title: A Million More
Composer & Artist: Jacob Mühlrad
Copyist: Frej Wedlund
Piano: Markus Jägerstedt
Strings: Erik Arvinder, Andrej Power, Albin Uusijärvi, Riikka Repo
Engineer: Mickey Hurcombe
Produced by: Markus Jägerstedt
Music Supervisor: André Brink, Universal Music Publishing
Published by: Universal Music Publishing

Angela Natividad
Angela Natividad is the European markets editor at Muse by Clio. She also writes about gaming and fashion, and whatever else she's interested in, really. She's based in Paris and North Italy, so if you're local, say hi. She might eat all your food.

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