Pennzoil Cleans Up Its Act

NEW YORK Pennzoil will change both its message and the label on its long-standing yellow container in a new campaign breaking during the Feb. 17 Daytona 500.

The campaign, themed “Feel the clean,” via Doner, Southfield, Mich., repositions the brand with a positive spin, replacing the more cautionary “Engine protection” theme, brand executives said. The company also plans to boost its ad spend by 27 percent, according to Jeffrey Lack, global marketing manager at Pennzoil, Houston. Pennzoil spent $22 million on ads through November, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

The two 30-second spots, one for the traditional Pennzoil blend and one for the brand’s premium blend, are mostly animated. The former shows a driver in a sporty car driving down sunny, palm-lined roads and a transparent car showing an engine at work. Arrows lead up from the obviously well-lubed machinations and into the driver’s heart, as he “feels the clean.” The latter is shot at night in an animated urban setting, also with the engine leading into the heart.

“We want to let people know that they can keep their engine invigorated, and want to show the benefit of cleaning,” Lack said of the new positioning.

The label on the familiar yellow carton will also change, placing a piston under the Pennzoil logo, and adding in small letters a phrase, “no leading conventional oil helps keep engines cleaner.” The change is the first for the label since 2001.

The goal of the campaign is to convince consumers that Pennzoil really is different from other brands. “This is a category where consumers think that all name brand oils are the same,” said Matt MacDonell, svp and brand planning director at Doner. “But we have to change that, and doing that means showing them that there are things that we have that can keep you out of trouble.”

After the Daytona 500 on Fox, broadcast will continue with buys around programming on ESPN, Comedy Central, Spike, Speed as well as all Nascar events.

Pennzoil is No. 2 in market share next to Quaker State in the $3.4 billion motor oil category in the U.S., per National Oil & Lube News. The segment has seen little movement over the past several years. Last year, the industry grew at a rate of 2.9 percent, mostly due to acquisition of existing lube facilities.