Volvo Trucks and This 3-Year-Old Set a Guinness World Record With Latest Big Stunt

A prize package from Forsman & Bodenfors

Eat your heart out, Matchbox!

Volvo sets the first-ever Guinness World Record for “Largest Unboxing” in grand style as big-rig enthusiast Joel Jovine, age 3, reveals the nameplate’s latest VNL 760 tractor trailer by opening a colossal toy-truck container.

Swedish agency Forsman & Bodenfors, whose “Live Test Series” for the client included the “Epic Split” spot starring Jean-Claude Van Damme a few years back, helped develop the new campaign.

That massive carton, made mostly of cardboard and cellophane, was based on classic toy-package designs, including Volvo’s own die-cast model truck boxes. It measured 80 feet long by 14 feet wide by 18 feet high, and took 36 hours to build. (The Brobdingnagian bar code was a cute touch.) The truck itself is 72 feet long and weighs 16 tons.

Why stage such a stunt?

“When we saw the film with the little kid unboxing a Spiderman battery-powered ride that has 218 million YouTube views, we said, ‘This is it! How can we do something as exciting?'” Magnus Koeck, vp of marketing and brand management for Volvo Trucks North America, tells Adweek.

Producing the video presented “quite a few challenges because of the size of the tractor trailer and the need for secrecy,” Koeck says. “We were required to back it up three blocks to get it into position. The turns were too tight for a normal approach.”

The crew worked “straight through the night” to set up the box, he says. “We ended up shooting much later than anticipated, and the Guinness official was afraid he would not be able to do the measurement before it was dark. He was very understanding about the delays.”

When filming finally began, “Joel was so excited when we surprised him with the truck that the cameraman had a hard time keeping up with him running around the box.”

As for the brand takeaway, “we hope it makes you feel that Volvo Trucks makes innovative products and is not afraid to have a little fun with its fans,” says Koeck. “The target audience is very broad because we hope it resonates with people of all ages. But as with all ‘cut-through’ ideas, it’s about creating awareness around our brand and products—exactly the same task as the Van Damme ad and several other films we produced in the last few years.”

The sight of a full-size tractor trailer sitting in its colorful box on a typical suburban street is YUGE-ly memorable. And that truck-lovin’ tyke brings some serious feels, providing a giddy, giggly focus for the story.

So, congrats on the world record! Though it’s probably just a matter of time until Boeing unboxes its latest 767 on the tarmac at JFK, or NASA astronauts open a shiny orbital package containing a new space station.

Client: Volvo Trucks North America
Product: Volvo VNL, Longhaul truck
Title: The new Volvo VNL – The world’s largest unboxing
Advertiser Supervisor: Rick Giamportone, Manager Launch Communications, Magnus Koeck, Vice President, Marketing & Brand Management
Agency: Forsman & Bodenfors
Account Directors: Cilla Pegelow, Olle Victorin
Account Manager: Britta Malmberg
Art Director: Kim Cramer, Anders Eklind
Copywriter: Björn Engström, Martin Ringqvist
Designer: Jerry Wass
PR Strategist: Bjame Darwall
Planner: Tobias Nordström
Agency Producer, Film: Lena Sellman
Agency Producer, Digital: Peter Gaudiano
Production company: Acne
Producer: Lars Nordenson
Executive producer: Petur Mogensen
Media Partner: Oath
Director: Torbjörn Martin
Music: Jonas Quant
Music Supervisor: Markus Bergkvist
Editor: Torbjörn Martin
Postproduction: MediaMonks
Sound: MediaMonks
Social media: South Agency
PR: Ogilvy, Oath, Volvo Trucks

@DaveGian David Gianatasio is a longtime contributor to Adweek, where he has been a writer and editor for two decades. Previously serving as Adweek's New England bureau chief and web editor, he remains based in Boston.