Grey New York, who oversee the Volvo creative account, have been ambitious with their newest angle for the car manufacturer. Here the emphasis is not on the car’s qualities, but its significance – we are being sold the idea of travelling, rather than the car product itself. It’s an intriguing novel approach that taps into a Kerouac, Whitman-esque approach to life – an appreciation of fleeting experiences while also learning to treasure the journey. Whitman’s ‘Song of the Open Road’, read with a husky, whiskey-edged breath by Josh Brolin, is the ideal thematic umbrella, unifying what could be a series of disparate (albeit beautiful) images from director Niclas Larsson and Director of Photography Jeff Cronenweth.
The oscillation between intense closeup and expansive, immersive imagery adds a sense of sentimental scale to proceedings – this isn’t the story of one man facing writer’s block, but the story of anyone, travelling across open, empty landscapes, looking for direction.
There’s certainly a lot to chew on here, and kudos to Volvo for trying something that actively defies convention and making people think about the images that they’re seeing. It’ll be interesting to find out how audiences react to the ad itself, but anything as interesting as this going forward can only be welcomed.