Volvo: LifePaint

Volvo's vision that by 2020 no-one will be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo inspired LifePaint - a unique reflective safety spray.

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Volvo - LIFEPAINT from Grey London on Vimeo.


Volvo is a brilliant brand borne from purpose driven organization but it had two big challenges; its budget - BMW, Mercedes and Audi often outspend Volvo by as much as as 10 to 1 - and it’s core message of  safety was increasingly seen as worthy and dull, worrying in a market driven by novelty and excitement. 

First, we created a clear framework for how we planned investments; 70% of budget to delivering hard working sales, 20% to creating all important brand awareness, 10% to driving smart innovation.

“By 2020 no-one will be killed or seriously injured in - or by - a new Volvo.”

A modest 10% budget, an innovation mindset and just two small words “or by” allowing us to make Volvo’s safety mission of protecting all road users, outside the car as well as inside, newsworthy – creating buzz, excitement and impact.


We identified the issue of London cyclist road-deaths as an area for which action was urgently needed - and one in which Volvo’s target audience had a disproportionate interest.

More than 19,000 cyclists are involved in accidents on Britain’s roads every year, and 60% of drivers of Volvo and other premium car brands are also enthusiastic cyclists.  But car brands rarely think about their audience as cyclists - just as cycle brands rarely think about their audience as motorists.

The big safety problem cyclists face on the roads is visibility. Barely a week went by without a rider being crushed to death beneath the wheels of a truck at a busy junction simply because they weren’t seen, particularly at night.


We developed LifePaint - a Volvo-branded safety product for cyclists born from the insight that the best way to avoid a crash, is not to crash.  A reflective spray that can be applied to any garment, helmet, bag and bike, it would light up under the glare of street and headlights.

It was great product but we still had a powerful influential community we had to ignite, the UK’s cyclists. And we realized we needed to land on their phones in order to change their hearts and minds. 

So we created a PR, social and mobile communications platform and launched with a production budget of just 

£75,000 (and no media money). We created a film to explain how Volvo LifePaint works and included a simple call to action: To get your hands on some Volvo LifePaint just drop by one of the bike shops we’ve partnered with in London or visit a Volvo Dealership near you. 


  • LifePaint was a PR sensation, generating 65m impressions on Twitter alone, with 2.7m views across 135 countries on YouTube in one week.  It was featured everywhere from Wired, Mashable and Buzzfeed to ABC News and
  • Time Magazine, and ultimately won two Cannes Lions Grand Prix.
  • All cans of LifePaint sold out in under 24 hours.
  • Most importantly, 45,000 people opted in to further marketing communications from Volvo, creating a huge volume of new leads for dealers.


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