When one thinks about issues of gender equality, the first references that come to mind are those linked to aspects such as equal opportunities in companies or in terms of wages, after all they have become central sections with respect to this topic. However, equality encompasses other aspects that are often not considered, even though they could even be deadly for people. As an example is the case identified by the Volvo brand and the Forsman & Bodenfors agency, which highlights that equality is needed in the development of vehicles and for which the The E.V.A. Initiative which we will see this week as one of the highlights.

The underlying problem

To understand the seriousness of the matter, the first thing to note is that the equality problem in the automotive industry is one that reaches a global scale. To say of the entities involved in The E.V.A. Initiative, women are up to 47 percent more likely to be seriously injured, 71 percent more likely to be moderately injured, and 17 percent more likely to die in a car accident compared to men.

The reason behind these high percentages is that many of the accident tests are performed with male-based dummies, and even those that are supposed to represent women can be understood simply as dummies based on physical composition of men but with a smaller size. As a result, it is women who experience the worst consequences, even financially and psychologically.

As additional data highlights that 93 percent of all fatal vehicle accidents occur in low / middle income countries even when they only represent 60 percent of the fleet. However, there is only one reason behind it, it is the cars that are not safe. Until a couple of years ago, there was no original equipment manufacturer that had alerted to the problem and recognized the reports published by institutions worldwide.

Even with various news articles referring to the problem of global proportions, the lack of attention to this topic is an example of the fact that there is still a long way to go to achieve equality in the field of protection for men and women in cars and it is there where Volvo found an important opportunity for The EVA Initiative.

With it, he sought again to establish himself as a benchmark among brands, as he did before the world when he shared with all brands the three-point seat belt patent.

The E.V.A. Initiative: Vehicles equal for all

As the campaign video points out, in order to make all vehicles safer for women, the brand took on the task of compiling all the safety research it has carried out over the years and making it available to all manufacturers. By creating a digital library with data from more than more than 43,000 collisions and 72,000 people, the research became open and free for any company to learn and leverage the knowledge in the development of its vehicles.

With this action, for the first time in history, anyone could access the download of more than 40 years of research to see how Volvo has achieved some of the most innovative systems in the automotive market.

Subsequently, the numbers were given a face and it was shown how this injustice in security issues affects women especially, thanks to a global campaign that integrated film, print, social networks, foreign and public relations.

In particular, the film functioned as an introduction for The E.V.A. Initiative as well as a tool to detonate awareness. Subsequently, all of the print ads were released to invite the audience to address this issue, but not just print materials helped make it visible. All elements of the campaign were designed to bring people to the initiative’s website that served (and still serves) as a hub for the project. It can be accessed here for all the details and manufacturers can find out the details of Volvo’s research to apply improvements to their processes.


As might be expected with an effort of such magnitude, the campaign quickly made the news and began to spark the conversation on a global scale about equality in terms of car safety. Until recent months, the campaign film had more than 85 million reproductions and had reached more than 70 countries. On the other hand, until last year, he had appeared in more than 450 articles and made a presence in news and blogs around the world. In addition, he achieved more than 280 million impressions on social networks, getting the world to talk about a problem that many people were unaware of.

This project also managed to create debate within the auto industry as other automakers embraced the initiative, such as electric vehicle startup Uniti.

In the advertising section, this campaign managed to add 7 recognitions in the last edition of Cannes Lions, possibly the most relevant of which is a Grand Prix in Creative Strategy.

Campaign Credits

Client: Volvo

Campaign name: The E.V.A. Initiative

Agency: Forsman & Bodenfors