Yesterday afternoon, Volvo signed NBA phenom, Jeremy Lin, to a global endorsement contract. Although terms of the deal are not yet known, over the “next two years,” Lin is expected to work as “Brand Ambassador” for Volvo’s global markets and to “establish the brand with younger and performance-oriented customers.”
Volvo, which is owned by Chinese automaker Geely, hopes to double its global sales to 800,000 units by 2020. To reach that figure, Volvo will need to ramp up sales in China, where last year Volvo sold only 47,000 units in a burgeoning market. Lin, the 23-year old Harvard graduate, is an American born of Taiwanese-immigrant parents, and who uncharacteristically rose to fame shortly after being waived by the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets prior to the current NBA season. Shortly after the season began, Lin found himself a starter for the New York Knicks, leading them to an unexpected 9-3 run, #Linstantly catapulting his Cinderella story to the front pages (known as #Linsanity) of every national media outlet.
Lin is a major draw for Volvo, and will work to expand the Swedish automaker’s reach in the Chinese market. Freeman Shen, senior vice president of Volvo and chairman of Volvo’s China operations, told The Wall Street Journal that Lin’s endorsement is an important part of Volvo’s “brand rejuvenation,” fusing “sportsmanship and intelligence” with Volvo’s “Designed Around You” marketing strategy.
Much of the Lin campaign will focus on digital marketing and social media. “We think the primary device in auto marketing is the internet,” said Richard Monturo, Volvo’s global marketing chief. “We have teams focusing on how we can upgrade the user experiences in all our social presences. We’re using the ‘designed around you’ idea, but trans-creating around the world.”
We’re not sure what that last bit means, but we’re not marketers. In the meantime, buy a Volvo and win a vacation to Sweden!
Source: Automotive News, The Wall Street Journal