Guerrilla campaign targets congestion zone for Volvo

LONDON - Motorists facing London's new congestion charge this morning were also greeted with a new guerrilla marketing campaign for Volvo to highlight its bi-fuel range, which is exempt from the charge.

Volvo is more usually associated with family values and safety than guerrilla marketing tactics. However, at the 165 entry points to the congestion charging zone this morning, marketing agency NMI has laid banners on the roads, changing the "C" marking to an anti-charging slogan.

Using laminate letters, the "C" was changed to "Cut the Charge", with smaller letters spelling out "HR Owen Volvo bi-fuel".

The agency was charged with promoting Volvo by dealership HR Owen. Volvo has a range of bi-fuel cars, which can run either on petrol or on liquid petroleum gas. These cars are exempt from the congestion charge and could save drivers who drive in the zone as much as £1,250 a year.

The media has predicted widespread chaos on this week's introduction of the congestion charge, from which cash generated will be used to boost public transport in the capital.

Paul Nathan, managing director of NMI, said: "As an integrated marketing group, we are continually striving for opportunities to make our clients more competitive, by coherently exploiting the increasing multitude of communication channels, and demonstrating that this is the way forward for our business.

"This was a natural opportunity to lift HR Owen and Volvo out of the advertising clutter by developing communication that has precision and the ability to engage customers in the optimum environment."

Other companies to capitalise on the introduction of the £5 tax, which is aimed at reducing traffic in central London, are scooter maker Piaggio and Ford, which is promoting its LPG-powered Transit vans.

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