”The Mystery of Dalaro” – Volvo Documentary – Fact or Fiction?

If you’re in the UK you’ve probably seen the current Volvo car commercial featuring “The Mystery of Dalaro”. For those of you who haven’t, the story goes: On 25th October 2003, 32 individuals or families in the small Swedish town of Dalaro turned up at their local Volvo dealership to buy the same model of Volvo car. This might not be surprising if it were not for the fact that the dealership in question had never sold as many as 32 cars in any previous year! Dr. Joakim Lofgren, an ESP Specialist interviewed in the documentary says the odds against this happening exceed the likelyhood of chance by 554,000 times. It’s apparently become a talking point in Sweden and is of course, great advertising for Volvo. But is it true?

Volvo hired Carlos Soto, an independent documentary and commercial film director from Venezuela to go to the town and make a documentary. The result lasts about 8 minutes and the current UK TV commercial promotes downloading and watching it from the Volvo UK website.

I suggest you do this – the links are at the end of this item. You’ll note the ‘advertising’ gets in there when the people interviewed describe why they bought the car (and in one shot, the bus stopping in the village street is of course a Volvo!). It’s an interesting slant on a viral marketing concept, but I ask the same question again – is the story true?

Regular readers know me by now. I investigated! :-) When you’ve watched the documentary / advertisement from Volvo, you MUST then watch the “Director’s Cut”! It makes a VERY interesting comparison.

What’s the truth? Who knows – Yet!? As ‘Carlos Soto’ himself says in the final words of his own cut of the raw footage, “So the question remains, what exactly is being sold in Dalaro – and who’s buying it?”

If (and I do emphasiste the “if”) it’s all a setup, I don’t really blame Volvo, after all, all’s fair in Marketing, but from their point of view, they should have agreed a restricton on Soto and what he was allowed to do with the out-takes. I would have – and that in itself is very strange! :-) If I were Volvo’s Marketing Director (and regardless of the veracity or otherwise of the happenings in Dalaro) I would be hoping not too many people find Carlos Soto’s ‘alternative’ documentary . . .

. . . or would I? . . .

You see, personally, I don’t really mind if it is or isn’t true, it’s still a fascinating intellectual aspect of my interest in the media and I give ten out of ten to Volvo for effort and a new idea. This deserves to become a viral (I’m doing it now aren’t I?) and strangely, it will no doubt do better in this respect if it isn’t true!

Let’s face it, the advertising messages still get across even if people are watching in desbelief or with tongue firmly wedged in cheek. I think maybe we’re supposed to find and pass on Soto’s version and perhaps I’m being played as a pawn right now! Who knows? Regardless of that, it’s all still very interesting. I still strongly suggest you watch both the videos and make up your own mind.

Here’s What to Watch:

I’ve copied “Soto’s version” to my own server. Here are the links you need: [The Volvo Version] – [“Carlos Soto’s ‘Director’s Cut”].

Any comments? Volvo? You? Drop me a note from here and I’ll post them.

Reality TV Strikes Again

In the UK, Channel Five are not particularly well known for putting large amounts of cash into new programming, but they may have struck gold with their new reality TV programme, “Back to Reality”.

Regular readers will know I do occasionally watch Big Brother or Fame Academy etc., (well someone has to) so it was with a few misgivings (for the reason above) that I started watching Five’s new programme. The idea is simple enough. Take twelve already well known (hated or loved) reality TV personalities and stick them in a “mansion” (Five’s word) inside a very large TV studio for three weeks. That’s right – a two storey house inside a TV studio. Clever idea actually, because it gets around all the “shouting over the wall” scenario of Big Brother and allows the producers to control everything, even the “daylight”.

The result, I have to say has been entertaining, partly because we already know the people, so the personality learning curve is non-existent. I have to say, I think they chose their ”guests” quite well. Where else would you find an English Major rubbing shoulders with a transvestite Brazilian hairdresser?

The Website is at five.tv and I’ve extracted the direct URL for the free live stream (which is a bit naughty I suppose) but if you want to watch, and you’re reading this before the end of the first week in March, Click Here! (The sound is not broadcast between 1am and 7am UK time, but you can watch the antics 24/7.)

So far we’ve had tantrums, huge shouting matches, tears, revolting tasks, the beginnings of a possible love affair and paranoia – so much so that Uri Geller walked out after claiming that the Channel Five company had been interfering with his personal belongings.

Transvestite Brazilian Hairdresser! I’ll keep you posted. In the meantime, have a look at the stream, but please, if you’re in the ‘States don’t think we British are all like this – the ”guests” are a mixture of a few of the best, but many more of the very worst the UK has to offer; then of course, there’s the Transvestite Brazilian Hairdresser! (Pictured at left.)

with the rather strange (to British ears) headline, “U.K. Pumping More Quid into Online than Radio” Marketing Wonk announce the amazing fact that the UK are now putting more money into Online advertising than commercial radio. If it’s true, It’s amazing. I say “if it’s true” because frankly I’m amazed. So much so, that I wouldn’t believe it at all if it were not for the fact that Clickz.com have the same story. V-e-r-y interesting.

Personally, I have always been a fan of radio advertising. There’s an old saying about radio (well, ‘old’ in relative terms), “Repetition Builds Reputation – Repetition Builds Reputation – Repetition Builds Reputation”! Does the Internet really promise a greater ROI than radio? And what does this bode for the future of commercial radio profits I wonder? Watch this space . . .

A very, very, very, nice man . . .

If that headline perplexes you, you’re not in the UK. It’s a reference to an AA (Automibile Association) TV commercial.

The subject here though is Tony Frampton, who is a nice guy. He’s an artist and cartoonist and he’s just given me permisison to use one of his cartoons on the front page of PowerPoint2Go.com.

If you need his sort of work, maybe to lighten up a presentation or document, let me recommend him. You can find his work at: www.drdudd.co.uk. I recommend you browse through his site, just for the laughs!