Published On: Fri, Nov 22nd, 2013

Why Has Jean-Claude Van Damme’s Stunning Volvo Ad Gone Viral?

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Jean-Claude Van Damme is a 53 year old martial artist, actor and director, best known for his performances in action blockbusters including Bloodsport, Street Fighter, Timecop, Sudden Death and The Expendables 2. He is also known for his trademark ability to do physics-defying splits, which you can see for yourself here.

The Volvo Car Corporation is a Swedish premium automobile manufacturer, now owned by the Chinese Zhejiang Geely Holding Group. Volvo manufactures and markets a range of SUVs, trucks, station wagons, and sedans and coupes.

Enya is an award winning Irish singer-songwriter and instrumentalist best known for her hit new age album, A Day Without Rain.

All three of these seemingly unrelated entities have come together to showcase an incredible collaboration of skill, talent, efficiency and wit. And you can watch it here:

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT?

The ad, which is part of Volvo Trucks’ ‘Crazy Stunts with our Trucks’ campaign, opens with a close up of Jean-Claude Van Damme with his eyes closed and arms folded while Enya’s “Only Time” plays in the background.

The camera pans out to reveal Van Damme standing on two Volvo FM trucks as he says, “I’ve had my ups and downs. My fair share of bumpy roads and heavy winds. That’s what made me what I am today. Now I stand here before you. What you see is a body crafted to perfection. A pair of legs engineered to defy the laws of physics. And a mind set to master the most epic of splits.”

Van Damme then goes into a deep split while the copy states: “This test was set up to demonstrate the stability and precision of Volvo Dynamic steering. It was carried out by professionals in a closed-off area.”

“The stunt is real and is performed in just one take,” Anders Vilhelmsson, public relations manager for the Volvo Trucks brand, told The Wall Street Journal. “It’s a daring stunt but we had full control. There was never any real danger involved.”

Andreas Nilsson, the director of the video, explained to The Wall Street Journal that while Van Damme’s feet weren’t secured to the mirrors in the video, they were placed on small platforms built on the side mirrors of the trucks. He was also hooked to safety lines that aren’t visible in the film.

“We had him rigged so that if he would fall off he wouldn’t die obviously. We didn’t want to be responsible for killing the Muscles from Brussels.”

The filming took place on a closed-off airstrip in Spain, and Van Damme got it done in one try. Of course the production team had already been rehearsing the stunt for three days before the final shoot.

OUR OPINION

Jean-Claude Van Damme is basically doing yoga. In the air. Suspended between two reversing trucks. For real. I love it. I don’t know if anyone will go running to their closest Volvo dealership after watching this insane display of steering wheel efficiency, but what an ad. With over 43 million YouTube views in less than 10 days, I’d call it a success.

There are entire corners of the world wide web dedicated to topics as unexpected as bouncing cats, random acts of pizza, and this (go on, you know you want to click on it). It should then come as no surprise that a Volvo ad starring Jean-Claude Van Damme doing a split while the sun rises to an Enya song should fit right in to this atmosphere. The combination is as bizarre as it is awe-inspiring, and that is what social media success is made of.

Welcome to the internet, guys.

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