Valvoline, which is in the late stages of a creative and media review, needs ads that speak to guys in their late teens, 20s and 30s who are passionate about their cars and like to do things themselves, according to the brand's request for proposals.
Complicating that mission is a "pervasive belief in the category that 'what I've always used has always worked, so why change?'" the document notes. So, "trust can be a major component in quality perceptions," even though "it is difficult to 'prove' differences between brands of motor oil."
Valvoline also is hungry for a steadier flow of digital content and ideas on how to celebrate its 150th anniversary next year, though its budget is limited. The brand spends about $22 million a year in media.
In the review, creative incumbents Young & Rubicam (general market ads) and Grupo Gallegos (Hispanic market) are defending against a handful of other shops, with final pitches scheduled for next month, sources said. The identities of the other contenders could not be ascertained.
Valvoline, a unit of Ashland that's based in Covington, Ky., could not immediately be reached.
The search is expected to be completed in early May.