Top Spot of the Week: Forsman & Bodenfors, Director Laerke Herthoni Revisit Criticism Of Seatbelts In Volvo's "Family Safety"


Robert Goldrich
Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020


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If we don’t learn from past mistakes, we are doomed to repeat them. So for client Volvo, agency Forsman & Bodenfors in Sweden provides a history lesson which remains deeply relevant and sounds eerily familiar today.

After Volvo Cars invented the three-point safety belt in 1959, its introduction sparked debate among the media and the public--and much criticism. Looking back and reading that criticism out loud in this campaign film, “Family Safety,” are car crash survivors whose lives were saved because they wore seatbelts. 

Among the criticisms they read are: “A terrible idea”; “The seatbelt is a violation of human rights”; “It’s better to be thrown out than to be trapped inside.” 

In this film--directed by Laerke Herthoni via production house New Land and shot entirely in black and white--these real car crash survivors from all over the world then share their emotional stories about the accidents and how they were saved thanks to the safety belt. In the end, we learn that Volvo has introduced a speed cap in all their cars during 2020, and is about to introduce in-car cameras to prevent intoxicated and distracted driving. Both of them are inventions that have sparked debate.

Seatbelts have saved over a million lives. And with its new safety innovations, Volvo aims to save "a million more," which is the campaign mantra.

“Using critical voices from the past became a creative bridge to Volvo’s safety vision and future technology. And the reactions from survivors who have experienced a car crash allowed us to talk about this in an emotional yet hopeful way”, said Leo Dal, creative at Forsman & Bodenfors in Gothenburg, Sweden.

The film features a new and unique score by renowned European composer Jacob Mühlrad. Mühlrad is the youngest composer to have a piece performed at The Royal Swedish Opera and his music has premiered at the Carnegie Hall in New York and Bamberg Hall in Germany. Last year Swedish House Mafia commissioned a re-composition of their hit “One” from Mühlrad for their global arena tour. His upcoming album for Deutsche Grammophon will be released in March 2021.

“My ambition was to find a tone that suited the emotional stories shared in the film. I watched the uncut interviews and found inspiration in the slow tempo, the fragility and tone in their voices. It was an interesting challenge,” said Mühlrad.


Client Volvo Car Corporation Agency Forsman & Bodenfors Sophia Lindholm, Karl Risenfors, Leo Dal, art directors; Hampus Elfström, Nicholas Düfke, copywriters; Anna Junker Lundin, producer; Daniel Sjöstrand, planner; Peter Gaudiano, digital strategist. Production New Land Laerke Herthoni, director; Kalle Wettre, producer; Mattias Rudh, DP; Sophie Tamm Christensen, exec producer; Johanna Borggren, stylist; Catharina Nyqvist, production designer. Editorial Johan Soderberg, Miguel Angel, editors. Postproduction Chimney Joakim Rissveds, colorist; Peter Tornestam, online. Sound Design Ballad Adrian Aurelius, sound designer. Music Song: “A Million More” Jacob Mühlrad, composer & artist; Frej Wedlund, copyist; Markus Jägerstedt, producer & piano; Erik Arvinder, Andrej Power, Albin Uusijärvi, Riikka Repo, strings; Mickey Hurcombe, engineer. Published by Universal Music Publishing; Andre Bring, music supervisor, Universal Music Publishing.

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