Holmes Report 12 Feb 2011 // 12:00AM GMT
For ExxonMobil, 2010 was characterized by a major product rebranding exercise across all of the company's oil containers and oil products which had a complete makeover with new packaging formats and styling. The company briefed Bex*communicatie to create and run a Benelux communications programme that would: position Mobil 1 as the flagship brand to business audiences (i.e. support industrial sales); build awareness around the re-positioned brand amongst both business-to-business and consumer audiences and explain to business to consumer audiences why oil matters. Bex* was tasked with developing a coherent strategy, delivering creative ideas to support the new branding and packaging and to execute a communications programme that would deliver key messages in as much publicity as possible. Unsurprising then, that a fivefold ROI on a spend of €75,000 (which included €26,000 for advertising) and 78,348,313 opportunities to see resulted in a very happy client indeed.
As many communications professionals will appreciate, being asked to generate media coverage about new brand packaging is about as welcome as being asked to issue a press release about a new company logo. It simply is not news and therefore a major challenge to win over the hearts and minds of a sceptical media. Across each of the campaign components, the new branding was the key message. For Bex* the challenge was coming up with original and creative ideas that would ensure that the key messages were used in the editorial, online and offline.
Strategy: Content Rules
The primary audience for the campaign was business to business as industrial sales from ExxonMobil's dealers and partners forms the lion's share of revenues with consumers as a secondary audience, particularly for the brand awareness and perception components of the programme. In order to reach these audiences effectively, Bex* developed a strategy based on the delivery of a mix of great content using timed releases across a complementary range of advertising, PR and marketing tactics that together delivered a coherent and impactful programme.
1. Video Production and Going Viral: A short video was produced featuring performance artists building a Formula One car solely from Mobil 1 New Life oil bottles. The video was placed on the Mobil 1 website (http://bit.ly/aPt3Xh) and on YouTube going viral, starting first with early adopters (petrol heads and Formula One lovers) and moving into mainstream social media (i.e. Hyves, Facebook, Twitter and industry blogs) to reach primary and secondary audiences. A key benefit of this tactic was the flexibility and adaptability of the individual components. For example, the film is used in commercials, the 'modelled' car displayed at events and even put to sea aboard one of the tall ships that took part in Sail 2010 in Amsterdam during the summer.
2. Consumer Survey: The survey is one of the key weapons in any PR's armoury, but with the proliferation of surveys over recent years means that to 'stand out', a survey needs to be relevant and the results interesting enough to report. The secret of success is in the survey and questionnaire design. The survey was designed, amongst other things, to demonstrate consumer understanding and knowledge, purchase influencers and trends. The results from over 500 participants created news hooks (two press releases) about why oil matters for both B2B and B2C media, creating informative editorial of interest to a readership eager for customer insights. Highlight was a radio interview on Dutch largest news station named Radio.
3. Give-Aways: Bex* also undertook a small 'give away' programme with key online media. Throughout this mini-campaign, the new brand was reinforced in all messaging. As an example, visitors to Autosport.nl had the opportunity to take part in an online competition and win the official ‘One hundred grand Prix wins’ book as well as a drop of oil from former Formula One Champion Lewis Hamilton's race car.
4. Launch of New Packaging, New Look: Launch press release designed to increase awareness around the repositioning Mobil 1 New Life and to announce the new brand and packaging's arrival on the Benelux markets. Targeted primarily at automotive websites and automotive print media (pictures), high quality product shots were distributed with the launch release which was also sent to targeted and relevant business to business and business to consumer publications.
5. Online and Offline Advertising (including banners and viral video): designed to build awareness of Mobil 1 New Life's repositioning, Bex* distributed the viral video (see 1. Video Production and Going Viral) with several prominent banners on key B2C & B2B automotive websites.
Given the challenges of creating coverage around a new brand, the results were impressive. First and foremost, Bex* has a delighted client. The complementary tactics and staggered timing created a programme with longevity as well as delivering flexible tools (the video and the model Formula One car) that could be used across different media both during and after the campaign. We also have to remember that success criteria are often determined by the client with ExxonMobil setting Bex*communicatie a 'hard' target, on which the success of the campaign would be judged, to deliver media coverage with an advertising equivalent of no less than €225,000. With a budget of €75,000, which included €26,000 allocated to online and off-line advertising, Bex* generated €377,000 in advertising value equivalent (no multipliers), reaching an audience of 78,348,313. A campaign that underlines the impact of communication professionals' creativity and the vital importance of creating engaging content that travels.