Volvo's Beautiful Ad Imagines a Modern-Day Walt Whitman

Filmic Longform Piece Embraces the 'Open Road'

By Ann-Christine Diaz. Published on Aug 29, 2016

Editor's Pick

Volvo has taken a more dramatic, filmic turn in its storytelling, as we've seen in its curious ads featuring a family heading to a wedding and now, this new spot, which seems to imagine American poet and journalist Walt Whitman, if he were living in modern day.

The longform ad opens with a quiet, contemplative vignette. A man struggles at his laptop while sitting at a diner, and then invites a curious waitress to have a seat. She asks to read his work, he hesitates, but then we realize he's willing to share when the sweeping music begins and a voiceover, from actor Josh Brolin, recites lines from Whitman's "Song of the Open Road."

It's then that we see the life that this writer has lived, or aspires to live, as the film cuts away to splendorous scenes of the protagonist enthralling in the wonders of the outdoors -- riding in his Volvo S90.

While the ad doesn't expressly state it, the man, who bears a resemblance to Whitman himself, appears to be playing the poet as if he were in the here and now.

The spot was created out of Grey, New York, directed by Swedish director Niclas Larsson via Iconoclast and shot by Oscar-nominated cinematographer Jeff Cronenweth. Composer Dan Romer providing the uplifting, orchestral score. It's the latest in Volvo's "Our Idea of Luxury" campaign, also spanning over radio, print, social and digital.

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Aug 29, 2016
Grey New York
Chief Creative Officer:
Andreas Dahlqvist
Executive Creative Director:
Matt O'Rourke
Art Director:
Denise O'Bleness
Walt Whitman
Production Executive:
Bennett McCarroll
Director, Integration:
James McPherson
Lauren Tuttman
Erik Iverson
Producer Assistant:
Jacob Herman
Music Producer:
Ben Dorenfeld
Production Company:
Production Company:
Niclas Larsson
Director, Photography:
Jeff Cronenweth
Alvaro Del Val
Editing Company:
Uppercut Editorial
Music/Sound Design:
Dan Romer
Dan Romer
Upper Cut
Principal Talent:
John Meyer

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