Driving engagement—with memorable, meaningful brand stories

Pioneering Story

Volvo’s story began in the 1920s, when two visionaries set out to design a vehicle that could withstand Sweden’s harsh winters. A century later, Volvo is one of the world’s leading carmakers, known for its innovations in safety, design and environmental efficiency. The stories Haberman has told for Volvo’s North American division reflect these same core values, building connections with brand loyalists and newcomers on emotional, authentic levels.


In the automotive world, competition is steep—and it’s easy to be outspent in marketing. When our partnership began, Volvo was looking for a smart way to raise its profile without draining its resources, to set itself apart from the competition and engage prospective buyers from a different angle. Working in their favor was nearly 100 years of history—marked by industry-changing innovations in safety, durability and environmentally-sensitive design. The challenge was to tell the brand’s amazing stories in a way that would engage consumers on an emotional level and reinforce Volvo’s core values.


From the beginning, Haberman’s work for the automotive leader reached across all forms of media—earned, paid and owned—integrating with the efforts of other Volvo marketing partners. Haberman shined a light on authentic human interest stories to help Volvo connect with consumers’ hearts and minds. A middle school teacher driving his Volvo millions of miles. Hometown heroes helping their communities. A little girl raising money to fight cancer. Innovations in engineering, design and safety. We focused on the right message at the right time, told in the right way, to build stories that engage. Get people talking. Sharing. And ultimately connecting the brand to its core values—so that consumers understand exactly what Volvo stands for.


3 Million Reasons to Believe
One man. One car. Millions of miles. Haberman was there in 2002 when science teacher Irv Gordon clocked two million miles in his 1966 P1800 Volvo, generating one billion media impressions with an ad equivalency of approximately $115 million. In 2013, Haberman led the celebration again when Irv hit three million miles in the same Volvo. Integrating online and offline channels, our strategy was designed to invigorate the Volvo brand, engage customers nationally, and garner big-time buzz.

Sustained public relations outreach—print, broadcast, online—targeted key outlets from national TV, top daily newspapers, top-tier bloggers, and auto-oriented media around the world. Haberman’s outreach secured more than five billion total impressions.

Haberman concepted and produced an anthem video that marries Volvo’s brand values with Irv’s inspiring journey.

Haberman also created a campaign microsite that offered a dynamic web experience, where visitors became participants, celebrating Irv’s achievement and sharing their own reasons to believe. Visitors to the site came from 156 countries, and, on average, spent more than four minutes on-site and engaged with an average of minutes pages per visit, suggesting a strong connection to the story and to a meaningful brand experience. Traffic was completely dependent on organic search click-throughs from a home page banner on volvocars.com/us and earned media.

Our social media engagement tactics drove users to the campaign site. We built shareable content throughout Volvo’s digital ecosystem to amplify and elevate the 3MM Reasons experience, positioning the site and the campaign to be about the user as much as Volvo and Irv Gordon. Growth in channel engagement swelled as Facebook collected 125,000 new fans and Twitter won over 200 new followers.

Everything was building toward the three-million-mile mark. And for that celebration, we looked north to Alaska, America’s last frontier and one of two U.S. states Gordon had never visited. The moment was streamed live via satellite from the Seward Highway, rendering the campaign microsite Volvo’s own HD network. We immediately followed up with a national satellite media tour and companion radio media tour. Irv appeared on the Today Show, NPR and CBS This Morning.

Grassroots and Still Growing
Though the story of Alex’s Lemonade Stand started nearly a decade ago, young Alexandra Scott continues to inspire children and families today. She wanted to raise money to fight cancer, and Haberman helped take the story to national audiences and involve local Volvo dealers. Generating 100 million media impressions nationally, Haberman’s work was recognized as the “Cause-Related Campaign of the Year” by PR Week Awards.

Volvo for Life Awards
Introduced in December 2002, the Volvo for Life Awards celebrated ordinary people doing extraordinary things. The initiative received more than 10,000 nominations from all 50 states and provided more than $1 million in awards and contributions in honor of everyday heroes. In total, Haberman’s outreach earned more than two billion media impressions.Innovations That Inspire
Haberman promoted the Volvo C30 Electric with tours in key markets, engaging lifestyle and sustainability media as well as investors to learn more about the latest in a long line of Volvo innovations. We also helped introduce the Volvo XC60 as “The Car That Stops Itself,” one way of modernizing Volvo’s safety brand values. The national tour included test drives at more than 250 retailers nationwide.

Connecting Through Fan Passion
Haberman’s stories for Volvo have capitalized on the excitement surrounding some of the biggest entertainment events of the last decade. For Twilight, the wildly popular film trilogy that prominently features three Volvo models—the XC60, S60 R-Design and C30—Haberman conducted national and local media outreach and promoted product and contest tie-in’s.
For the Pirates of the Caribbean premieres, Volvo issued exciting challenges, such as the hunt for a treasure chest stuffed with gold coins and the key to a new car. Haberman earned coverage in the New York Times, Washington Post, CNBC, bloggers and more. And for Super Bowl XXXIX, Haberman developed the “Boldly go” campaign, featuring Sir Richard Branson inviting Americans to win a trip to space. The coverage Haberman helped generate included more than 750 print, online and broadcast stories, including a Branson appearance on TODAY.


Engaged audiences across all media and channels to drive brand awareness and purchase consideration.

Fueled record sales during the duration of the campaign.

Modernized—and humanized—a venerable brand, providing a platform for viral communications and social connections.

Earned billions of impressions, tens of thousands of media stories and the PR Week award for Cause-Related Campaign of the Year for Alex’s Lemonade Stand.