Here's The Story Behind That "Buy My Volvo" Viral Video
There’s no reliable formula for creating a successful viral video. It’s a special combination of timing, luck, and a certain X factor that gets people laughing, crying, or really, just talking. In the last week there have been a few, for sure, but one in particular stood out to us: Buy My Volvo. The hilariously intense 3-minute personal ad for a 1993 Volvo 245GL station wagon was cut by a Swedish art director named Castor who needed to free up some space in his garage. We got in touch to see how the hell he did it, and why.
He never intended for it to be a big deal.
Initially he thought to put up a simple ad on Blocket, a Swedish Craigslist-style classifieds site, but figured since there were so many other 240s on there (it’s Sweden, after all) he’d have better luck doing something different. And he's got the skills to do it right thanks to his day job, which has him frequently working on local television commercials.
Castor: “I love to make stupid videos with my friends in my spare time. I got my colleague, who’s a great cinematographer, to film it for me. Two lunch breaks later, we had all the shots I wanted. All in all it was filmed in under two hours. I didn’t think people outside my friend circle would think it was funny.”
Castor (pictured far left in the photo, with his buddies): “I didn’t have anything in mind. I saw some pigeons in the car park and chased them around to get a good shot. Poor piggies. I think it has a sort of Breaking Bad vibe and I worked with that in the editing room. I color corrected it to look like early nineties retro.”
He’s a Volvo lifer.
That may explain the passion and intensity behind the video. He’s owned a ‘66 Amazon, the 245, and has already purchased a new one — a 1968 142. But what's his ultimate dream car?
Castor: “Maybe one of those VW busses from the sixties and seventies; I like them old."
There’s been lots of attention from weird places.
Castor: “I just wanted to get rid of my car by doing a stupid ad. Some people think it’s a PR trick or something like that, but it’s not. They also think I should monetize my video on YouTube, but I’d rather stay cuddly and without the dough than destroy others’ viewing experiences with random crap advertising. Because mostly, that’s what ads are, just crap. Two cops on motorcycles pulled me over the other day when I was driving the car. They told me it was the funniest film they’d ever seen, then took a photo."
Despite it all, and the 1.3 million views, it’s still for sale.
Castor: "In the beginning there were a lot of low bidders. Now people just ask me if it’s still for sale and if I could ship it to different countries. I like the thought of shipping him overseas, I bet the ghost would like that."
Joe McGauley is a senior editor at Supercompressor. He's never knowingly been a passenger in a haunted car.