Valvoline returns to racing

DETROIT: Valvoline is getting back to its racing roots with a new campaign and a new PR agency to help its positioning by building support for Valvoline Motor Sports (VMS).

DETROIT: Valvoline is getting back to its racing roots with a new campaign and a new PR agency to help its positioning by building support for Valvoline Motor Sports (VMS).

ClearBlue, the event marketing firm that counts Chrysler Group among clients, has been selected by VMS as AOR to handle a raft of NASCAR and drag-racing tie-ins launching this year. Events center around Valvoline's part ownership of the No. 10 Valvoline Dodge Charger. This year's push will go through NASCAR's 38-week season.

Bryan Emrich, Valvoline director of marketing, said the racing focus, which includes a new TV ad with a "Tested on the track, trusted on the road" theme, follows a change in marketing ranks at the Lexington, KY, company. Emrich, a veteran of P&G, came to Valvoline last year, recruited four new brand managers, and gave them a directive to rebuild the brand.

"We heard from consumers, 'We love Valvoline, but can't remember why,'" he said. "Part of the reason was we have driven MaxLife motor oil hard for five years and got away from what I call 'franchise advertising.'"

ClearBlue will be handling Valvoline Race Shop, which debuted at the Daytona 500 last weekend and will also appear at an upcoming Bristol, TN, race. The at-track display features Valvoline's No. 10 Charger and its sponsored National Hot Rod Association drag-racing car.

Debbie Robinson, client lead, said ClearBlue is also working to get press coverage of the team and the brand. "The PR element is getting TV that covers racing to cover Valvoline," she said.

Along with various media buys on Speed network's NASCAR programming, the firm is doing a weekly communications program for each racer around the No. 10 Charger.

ClearBlue is also extending motor sports to auto enthusiast titles by setting up interviews with top drivers.

Robinson added that ClearBlue will launch a program to bring motor sports media to the Valvoline R&D Center to see the tech behind motor oil.

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