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Ssak3 ride helps Volvo lure younger drivers

Ssak3 stands in front of Volvo's XC90 (MBC)
Ssak3 stands in front of Volvo's XC90 (MBC)

The global carmaker Volvo is rejuvenating its brand image in South Korea via successful collaborations with popular dramas and variety shows.

In the currently airing tvN drama “It’s Okay to Not Be Okay,” starring Seo Ye-ji and Kim Soo-hyun, Volvo’s premium sports utility vehicle XC90 and S90, a mid-sized luxury sedan, are heavily featured, gliding along the coastal roads of Goseong, Gangwon Province.

The Volvo cars have also stood out on other TV programs, with popular celebrities takingthe cars for a ride, such as SSak 3, a trio of entertainer Yoo Jae-suk, singers Lee Hyo-ri and Rain, which was formed on MBC’s entertainment program “Hangout With You.”

Volvo Korea said it started putting efforts into TV tie-in after it witnessed the power of the marketing method when its XC90 appeared in JTBC reality show “Hyori’s Bed & Breakfast” and went viral in 2017.

“We previously made decisions to work with celebrities who already owned Volvo cars. We also look for actors and television personalities who match with the brand’s image,” a Volvo Korea official told The Korea Herald.

Lee’s husband singer-songwriter Lee Sang-soon had already owned Volvo’s V60, a five-door wagon, and the company decided to lend the XC90 to the couple -- which they ended up buying after the show ended.

While the increased exposure of its products on TV appears to have had positive effects on overall sales, it has also attracted younger customers, according to the company.

In 2018, the company sold 8,524 units in the country, with 26.8 percent of them purchased by customers in their 20s and 30s. The figures are drawing an upward turn, and in 2019, the company said it sold 10,570 units, 29.6 percent of which came from the younger group of buyers.

The company expects that they will break their own record this year, as the carmaker has already sold 6,524 units from January to June, with 28.5 percent of the cars sold being purchased by people in their 20s and 30s.

By Jo He-rim (