Volvo Pulls Mail Campaign After Anthrax Scare

25 October 2001

Swedish auto maker Volvo has been forced to pull a direct marketing campaign in Germany in the wake of the anthrax scare.

As part of the push, created by Munich’s DCM Dialog Creation and launched on October 10, some 2,000 letters were sent to Volvo owners reminding them that their one-year new car guarantee was due to expire and urging them to check their vehicles.

However, nestled in the colourful envelope reading “Volvo for Life” was a four-gram packet of soluble multivitamin powder, the sight of which prompted one panicked recipient to phone the police.

Having informed the authorities they were sending out vitamins, not toxins, the Ford Motor Company-owned carmaker promptly suspended the campaign. Wise after the event, Volvo admitted: “Such advertising does not fit in at the current time, and that’s why we stopped it straight away.”

Following discussions with agencies, the German Post Office has asked marketers to eschew such mail campaigns for the time being. Several mailing centres have been forced to shut temporarily after anthrax-related scares.

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