Pennzoil Targets Men, Women in ‘Bail Out’

LOS ANGELES The second Pennzoil TV commercial since Omnicom’s TBWA\Chiat\Day won the account last April broke in local spot markets earlier this week and goes national today. Following the similar “Homage” spot, in which various motors break out to pay tribute to a Pennzoil delivery, “Bail Out” features a runaway minivan engine treating itself to an oil change.

The Playa del Rey, Calif., shop did not disclose spending, but Pennzoil parent Shell Oil spent $23 million on the brand last year, per TNS Media Intelligence/CMR.

The 30-second spot, focusing on the client’s oil for minivans, trucks and SUVs, depicts a busy mother burdened with clowning kids and a jaded teenaged daughter doing chores as her vehicle’s oil gauge flashes red. Realizing that mom is too harried to stop, the engine escapes from the vehicle and speeds down the street towards a Pennzoil station. “Not just oil, Pennzoil” continues as the campaign’s tag.

“Again, we see the engine as the best spokesman for the brand. But here we’re trying to appeal to both the gear-head guy and the minivan mom,” said Gary Pascoe, co-creative director with John Payne. “It starts with the 10-second slice of American life that all women can relate to, but in the depiction of the engine we got obsessive about how real we wanted it to look.”

Pascoe and Payne decided that it would be a computer-generated engine, but as Pascoe put it, “a cartoony idea, done realistically.” The agency enlisted Digital Domain to create the engine, supplying the Venice, Calif., visual effects house with 11 real motors so the animators could model the details correctly. Mike Hanley produced the effects for director Baker Smith.

Pascoe said while men would insist upon the spot’s engine detail, the creative also targets female drivers. He added that the media buy will emphasize a more general audience, too, noting that the ad is airing during Saturday Night Live.