This month, Volvo’s online commercial “The Epic Split”, featuring Jean-Claude Van Damme, became the all-time most watched automotive commercial on YouTube. That is some feat! As of this writing, 60.8 million visitors watched as Van Damme made the most epic act of doing the splits between two commercial trucks.
Volvo, known for producing ads with an emphasis on safety, took a bet on a series of Internet shorts by showing feats of courage (insanity) by professionals that most of us would consider hair-brained. Although each video’s primary purpose is to convey a specific engineering characteristic of Volvo’s trucks, the series presents an array of wildly entertaining stunts culminating to an epic 6th video, starring Van Damme.
Illustration through Storytelling
This Jean-Claude Van Damme video is textbook evidence that a product demonstration can be illustrated with good storytelling through an online video. Everything about this commercial is unorthodox. And that’s what makes it work. It’s creative, brilliant, stupid, entertaining and jaw-dropping; a true”Van Damme-meets-Volvo” moment.
During the commercial’s beginning, the audience is inclined to believe the video is about Van Damme. However, as the camera pulls away and reveals the complete story, we understand the message is really about the steering technology built into Volvo trucks. Watch the video for yourself. It’ll surely bring a smile and chuckle, and possibly a gasp.
The Epic Splits
Below are earlier videos in the series. Although they didn’t break any YouTube records as the Van Damme has, the following videos each drew healthy viewing numbers as far as YouTube numbers go – millions of views each.
The Ballerina – Live Test #1
The Hampster Road Trip – Live Test #2
The Bull Chase – Live Test #3
Making a YouTube Hit – Live Test #4