It wasn't until Irv Gordon hit the 700,000-mile mark in his red Volvo P1800 that Volvo U.S. sales and marketing subsidiary Volvo Cars of North America, LLC started to take notice of the numbers he was putting on his car. Now he's about to hit the three million-mile mark -- and just as Volvo put the spotlight on the former science teacher when he hit two million miles with an event in Times Square, the company is praising him again.
Gordon is in the Guinness Book of World Records for most miles driven by a single owner in a non-commercial vehicle and is featured in "3 Million Reasons to Believe" centered on a new microsite, 3MillionReasons.com via Minneapolis-based communications firm Haberman. The site features Gordon's car and his travels with social media elements and a long-form video that shows an actor playing Gordon's younger self buying the Volvo in the ’60s, then showing him today touring the country. In the video, he meets other Volvo owners. The site allows people to submit their own reasons for loyalty and reviews current Volvo models.
There's an earned-media push and
CRM outreach as well. Gordon is scheduled to hit the three million-mile mark in Alaska the week after Labor Day, per Volvo VP public affairs Geno Effler. He says the principal fan-sharing program has
been the long-running "Volvo Saved My Life Club" focusing on the company's brand equity in safety. "But in terms of sharing your Volvo story, we haven't had a thing like this. Gordon's story is
genuine; it's not a publicity stunt."
Effler says when Gordon hit the 250,000 mark years ago, he wrote Volvo a letter and got a form letter back. "He did the same thing at half a million miles, and got another form letter. Finally, someone at Volvo started paying attention at 700,000, and that's where the genuine story comes from. He did it, and we kind of have been going along for the ride and helping to publicize it."
Effler says he's expecting lots of views of the video on social media channels because "he transcends the auto [vertical] because he's such an everyman. He's an ordinary American who happens to love to drive places."
While Volvo won't go everyman-to-pitchman à la Jared and Subway, "potentially we might use him in an ad; it does help talk about the brand's reliability if you get service on a regular schedule."