Y&R Bows Global Texaco Campaign

NEW YORK Young & Rubicam today launched a new global campaign for Texaco that positions the gas station brand as the top choice of car enthusiasts.

The effort, which includes TV, print, radio, Internet and outdoor ads, introduces the tagline, “Trust your car to the star.”

Previous ads, also from WPP Group’s Y&R, touted the brand’s heritage and venerable logo via the theme, “Shine on.” The new ads are backed by an estimated $30-40 million spend. They break first in the U.S. and will later roll out in Latin America, Europe and Africa.

“This is really a relaunch of the Texaco brand,” said Y&R North American CEO Gord McLean. “It started with a simple brand idea: People in the know trust Texaco.”

One TV spot depicts four men hovering over the sputtering engine of a car parked in a suburban driveway. One of the men shakes his head and says, “Got me.” A fifth man then enters the scene, listens to the noise for a few seconds and declares, “It’s the crank shaft.”

Another spot shows a crane operator getting upset over crushing a “dead” 1969 Camero and piling it atop other cars in a junkyard. A third spot plays off of Texaco’s ties to Nascar, showing a zealous crowd of racing fans scrambling to catch a lug nut discarded by a pit crew member. The nut ends up in a fan’s beverage and he gets flattened by the onrushing crowd.

Each spot includes a voiceover that says, “People who know cars, trust the unbeatable cleansing power of Texaco with Techron,” referring to a new cleaning additive. The ads end with the tag, both spoken and on the screen, with the logo substituting for the word “star.”

“We wanted to get back to the icon status of Texaco,” explained Y&R worldwide creative director Michael Patti, who oversaw the effort, which was produced by the shop’s New York office. “Everybody knows them for that star.”

Joe Pytka directed the TV spots, which were shot in California three months ago.

Y&R also created three print ads, including one depicting a moth smashed on a windshield against the backdrop of a blue sky with white, puffy clouds. “Some see a bug,” says print copy next to the moth. “Others see the windshield of a ’69 Dodge Charger 383, four-barrel, two-door coupe.”