Volvo Rush to Tie Race with Car Sales article about how Volvo are activating their sponsorship of the Volvo Ocean Race to a wider audience.

Rush, is a nine-month-long interactive, “choose your own adventure” video tied to the carmaker’s name sponsorship of the Volvo Ocean Race. A clock ticks off a four-minute deadline that Coast Guard staffers have to reach their rescue boat, anchored in a harbor, before it takes off to save a yacht in distress. Visitors to and the Ocean Race site can experience the drama as a four-way split screen with videos showing each of the four rescuers or go to a full-screen view to focus on one of the four, making choices along the way that will lead to success or failure in the mission. Volvo’s three special-edition Ocean Race models, the XC90, SX70 and V70, are integrated into the videos but aren’t overly promoted.

Lukas Dohle, global interactive campaign manager at Volvo, challenged his team to expand consumer reach this time and drive excitement for the brand so it would be “perceived as a brand that does extraordinary things.”

Volco predict that 4 million to 5 million people will check out the videos during the nine-month campaign. Only about 2% of participants will meet the four-minute deadline on the first try, he said, encouraging them to try multiple times to beat the clock.

The expectation is that the audience will skew a bit younger (30- to 55-year-olds) and more female than the audience for Volvo’s last online go-round tied to the Ocean Race.

A 30-second trailer for the drama lives on YouTube. Volvo is also buying online ads to drive traffic to the game.

The rollout of the online videos and supporting ads will follow the race’s course, which is why it started in Europe. The videos are in English, Spanish and Chinese, but local markets will do their own translations, including Russian, French and German, he said. He expects ads in the U.S. to coincide with the race’s arrival there in the spring.