Pennzoil Concentrates on ‘Clean’


Shell Oil Co.s Pennzoil, one of Americas leading brands, kicked off a new marketing campaign during this months Daytona 500 in an effort to secure a larger share of the 715 million gallon U.S. passenger car motor oil market, and separate the brand from its competitors. The Feel the Clean campaign focuses on active cleansing agents, thus shifting attention to what Pennzoil can do positively for the engine – and representing a shift in strategy for the oil marketer.

Consumer, customer and technical research conducted throughout 2006 and 2007 led us to the decision to move forward with the new campaign, said Luis Guimaraes, general manager of marketing at Shell Lubricants North America, owner of the Pennzoil brand. We have identified a fresh, aggressive brand positioning built around unmet consumer needs that we believe will help deliver growth to our customers and to our company in 2008 and beyond.

While the actual Pennzoil motor oil products – its Pennzoil conventional motor oil and Pennzoil Platinum full synthetic motor oil – have not been reformulated, the campaign spotlights the oils ability to help keep a vehicles engine clean, and a clean engines connection to the driver.

The Pennzoil formulation remains unchanged, Guimaraes told Lube Report, however the new campaign focuses on new brand claims.

Developed by the Pennzoil brand team and its Michigan-based creative agency, Doner, the campaign marks a change in direction from just engine protection to a more positive emphasis on clean. Our goal was to prominently present a strong message about the active cleansing agents in Pennzoil motor oils and demonstrate that a clean engine can help enhance the driving experience, said Matt MacDonell, Doners senior vice president.

The campaign also marks a shift in terms of creative strategy. Doner is the third creative agency that Shell has employed in five years to direct marketing for the Pennzoil brand. Previous agencies that handled the account are Calif.-based TBWA/Chiat/Day and Texas-based GSD&M.

In addition to Pennzoil, Doner handles advertising for another Shell brand, Quaker State. The creative agency manages both brands with different marketing teams.

According to Advertising Age, the Pennzoil creative account was $20 million last year when it was awarded to Doner. The advertising budget for the Pennzoil campaign will represent a 27 percent increase in media activity over 2007, said Guimaraes.

The new advertising campaign features an animated video and is prominent on Pennzoils homepage. It shows a driver and his sports car cruising down a country road, with arrows flowing from the cars engine up to the drivers heart.

The campaign will run through all of 2008. Its launch was chosen to coincide with the start of the NASCAR race season at Daytona on Feb. 17 in an attempt to reach its target consumers.

As a venue, the Daytona 500 is a showcase event [for] our key targets, said Guimaraes. Launching it then made sense from both timing and venue standpoints. It allows us to get a jump on the important spring and summer sales season. Beyond that, our presence there allows us to create synergy with our relationship with Kevin Harvick.

A past Daytona 500 champion Harvick drives the number 29 Shell/Pennzoil Chevy. The new campaign will be activated through a strategic grassroots marketing tour that will visit race markets and car clubs throughout the country, Guimaraes said.

The product is already available at national retailers but new labeling, reflecting the brand repositioning will show up on store shelves in a few months. It will be available in quart, gallon and bulk containers. Pennzoils trademark yellow will remain a key part of the companys packaging.

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