Cannes Lions


EDELMAN, Shanghai / VOLVO / 2014

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Operator Idol: Volvo Construction Equipment’s (Volvo CE) National Excavator Operator Contest is the world’s largest construction equipment fuel efficiency training event and the first of its kind in China. Starting in 2011 and held annually ever since, the campaign advocates fuel efficiency by engaging the unsung working heroes behind the scenes of China’s rapid urban development.

We recruited the excavator operators through the channels they were most familiar with - social media, radio, text messaging and traditional media - and invited them to learn fuel-saving techniques through “Pop Idol” inspired local, regional and national excavator operating competitions.

As a B2B company, Volvo CE took the extra step to engage end-users, and brought positive results to its dealers across China by helping raise their awareness in the local markets via city-level competitions that provided a unique opportunity for them to reach out and engage potential and existing customers.

We have actively engaged over 410,000 excavator operators over the past three years. The campaign generated one million visits to its official site and received over 3,629 media reports.

According to a field survey conducted by Volvo CE, 98.83% excavator operator respondents indicated they acknowledged the significance of fuel efficiency. More than 50,000 operators participated in Volvo CE’s leading online and offline fuel-efficiency and vocational training. Most importantly, we built long-term relationships with excavator owners, dealers and government; communicated our core values; and attained our strategic growth objectives in China.


From 2011 to 2013, over 410,000 contestants signed up for the event through recruitment platforms easily accessible to excavator operators, including a dedicated hotline, radio ads, text messaging, online and dealer channels.

As part of the program, operators were given online and offline training in fuel-efficient driving and an opportunity to test drive the Volvo CE machines, which brought them closer to the Volvo CE brand.

Further extending the campaign’s reach, Operator Idol leveraged a multi-media approach to praise and support excavator idols throughout the event. We broadcast live content on a dedicated webpage hosted by a website popular with operators. An Operator Idol micro-blog account created a platform for Volvo CE to directly interact with operators and advance their mission of reducing carbon emissions.

Finally, an “Operator Club” also provided excavator operators with an unparalleled platform for peer-to-peer communications, support and Volvo CE updates.



- 98.83% excavator operator respondents indicated they acknowledged the significance of fuel efficiency

- Registered over 410,000 excavator operators from 2011 to 2013

- Over 20,000 excavator operators competed in 34 city contests across 30 markets in China


- Over 50,000 operators participated in online and offline fuel-efficiency and vocational training

- Taught fuel-efficient operating techniques to excavator operators, ultimately reducing carbon emissions

- Over 3,629 reports across TV, radio, print and online outlets; national, regional and local publications; and general, industry and trade media

Action/Business Impact:

- Helped Volvo CE communicate its core values of Quality, Safety and Environmental Care

- Improved the performance of the construction industry by reducing its carbon footprint

- Over one million visits to the official contest website, and over 150,000 QQ micro-blog followers

- Recognized and supported the unsung heroes behind the scenes of China’s fast-paced development

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Shortlisted Cannes Lions



2015, VOLVO

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