How Volvo brought ‘Fika’ to Canadians during the pandemic

Who: Volvo with Grey for creative and strategy, and Wavemaker for media.

What: The “Fika” content series, short films on YouTube featuring well-known or successful creative minds talking about themes that are important to Volvo, such as design, safety and sustainability.

When & Where: The series debuted last year with furniture designer Niels Bendtsen. Six videos followed, including two released in July, with four more to come. The videos are being pushed through paid social and YouTube TrueView.

Why: According to Grey, the series began during the pandemic as a way for Volvo to recreate the Swedish custom of Fika—taking a coffee break with friends and colleagues as a way to build community.

With communal coffee breaks less common because so many people were working long hours from home, Volvo produced content that could provide them with a short break, while at the same time providing a point of connection with its brand around relevant themes.

“The FIKA series objective was to connect with a segment of luxury auto buyers who share our core brand values of design and sustainability, and build equity with that audience,” said Tara Powadiuk, marketing director at Volvo Cars Canada. “The goal was also to share our design and sustainability story and start the conversation through the FIKA series.”

How: In each video, a featured individual talks about topics that are important to them, but are also key Volvo brand themes. Volvo is present, but only secondarily or in the background.

Bendtsen for example, talked about how a Scandinavian aesthetic and sophistication shapes his furniture design. A video about sustainability (published this past Earth Day) featured Sam Leroux and Alex Desabrais, the founders of solar-powered watch brand Solios.

In the July videos, Erica Bianchini, co-founder and creative director at Ecksand Jewels, talks about sustainable design, while Quebec TV personality Julie Snyder talks about the personal importance of safety after a 2019 car accident.

“This content is completely ownable by Volvo and could only come from the Swedish carmaker,” said Grey Canada creative director Dan Bache. “Not only does it introduce Canadians to the Swedish idea of Fika, but it also brings new people to the Volvo brand through interesting topics like Scandinavian design, sustainability, and architecture.”

The made-in-Canada content campaign has proven so popular that the series is being used in the Latin America and U.S. markets.

And we quote: “This is a truly authentic initiative. The Volvo Cars Canada team have continued their own weekly Fika virtually through Covid, and I feel this has been a great way to welcome Canadians into the amazing world of Volvo.” —Tara Powadiuk, marketing director, Volvo Cars Canada

David Brown