Brands that Become Us: Selling My Volvo

Because I’m in the marketing business, I find it hard to admit when a brand has stolen my heart. I think I should be above it. But last night, I cleaned out the old Volvo 760 wagon to sell it. I loved that car. I raised my kids in that car. As I dug moldy Pirate Booty out of crevices and scrounged old report cards and dead beat crayons from underneath the seats, I welled up.

Thankfully, I never tested the Volvo’s safety features. Although in what could be considered brand treason, the seat belt on the driver’s side rarely worked. I forgave it.

Vehicles, like no other durable, have a special place in a consumer’s life. It goes beyond transportation. It’s probably the biggest “identity” purchase a person can make.

So, as I hand off the old Volvo to the next family, an African American single mom with two boys, I feel like I’m transferring a legacy. I flash back to the long rides in the country with the kids playing checkers in the back. A soccer team destined for celebratory pizza. Nine teenagers in prom outfits chatting and laughing. Indeed, Kevin Roberts would declare this a case of “Lovemarks” for my Volvo. And he’d be right about that.