Castrol hits the back of the net with player-performance index

Castrol and Ogilvy PR wanted to better connect the motor oil company with soccer supporters and expanded its performance tool, the Castrol Index, to the US Soccer Federation's men's national team.

Organization
Castrol (Wayne, NJ)
Agency

Ogilvy Public Relations (New York, NY)
Duration

February-December 2013
Budget

$180,000

Castrol and Ogilvy PR wanted to better connect the motor oil company with soccer supporters and expanded its performance tool, the Castrol Index, to the US Soccer Federation's men's national team.

The index analyzes about 1,800 player movements per match and ranks the performance of each player.

"They've made a strong push to collect data and tie it back to performance," says Chicago Fire striker Mike Magee. "Castrol is the first company that's made it relevant. They compile every move and each pass you make, which is great."

Strategy
Castrol sought to leverage the success of the index in the FIFA World Cup and English Premier League to drive use and awareness within the US.

Tracy Drelich, BP Lubricants USA's associate promotions and sponsorship manager, says the index demonstrates the brand's commitment to the game and shows that Castrol is a "technology company creating better motor oils. Technology is at the heart of who we are."

US Soccer and Castrol expanded the index ahead of the United States' January 29 match against Canada.

Tactics
In June 2013, former player and current soccer commentator Kasey Keller (inset) was named the brand ambassador of Castrol's GTX High Mileage, the official motor oil of the US men's national team.

Keller engaged fans on Twitter and was featured in four videos discussing topics including the evolution of US soccer and the Castrol Index.

Ogilvy arranged for Castrol executives, including director of marketing Des Johnson and director of integrated marketing Carolyn Eckert, to give interviews about the index to journalists and bloggers including The New York Times, Fox, NBC, Los Angeles Times, and The Wall Street Journal.

Keller and Magee also spoke with outlets such as Business of Soccer, Goal.com, ESPN Deportes, and The Guardian.

Local media outlets, including The Kansas City Star and The Seattle Times, regularly used index figures in their reporting.

Business of Soccer reported, "Don't be surprised if in the future, as the system proves itself, the Castrol Index is brought into conversations when negotiating player contracts, sponsorship deals, and financial spending strategies."

On the mornings of the Major League Soccer All-Star Game in July and the MLS Cup Final in December, media were invited to a Castrol event where they played soccer (above left), ate breakfast, received swag bags, and were given information on the brand and the index.

Results
Castrol executives have used the index as a tool to connect with their potential customers.

It has received almost 80 pieces of earned media including NBC Sports' Pro Soccer Talk, Goal.com, and Yahoo Sports, generating more than 1 billion media impressions.

The index saw a 188% increase in media impressions from 2012 to 2013. More than 281 articles mentioned the Castrol Index in 2013.

Ogilvy PR's media relations campaign contributed to a single digit percentage increase in oil sales for Castrol in 2013.Castrol appointed Ogilvy PR as its US AOR.

Future
Ogilvy will continue to leverage the Castrol brand beyond the auto industry and sees the 2014 World Cup as a big opportunity for the index. Ogilvy now supports other Castrol partnerships, including the NFL.


PRWeek's View
Castrol is looking to step beyond its motor oil roots and be viewed as an innovative tech company. Using the index was a smart way to engage a large audience - soccer fans - in an authentic way. Providing lots of touchpoints for the media from company executives to high-profile players, as well as arranging fun events, created great buzz and coverage. Media already use index stats in reports and see the tool as increasing in importance within the sport.

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