”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.


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