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CAMPAIGN OF THE MONTH: Castrol kicks off football-themed campaign in time for World Cup

There's no doubt that football is a recognised talking point on all four corners of the globe. It's for this reason that BP-owned Castrol has taken the decision to launch a 12-month B2B campaign based on its official sponsorship of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

“Using sponsorship with this audience is a first for us,” says Paul Lowther, Castrol's global marketing communications manager. “But we operate in global markets and everyone likes football. It's universal.”

The B2B campaign is aimed at customers in its aviation, industrial, marine and energy sectors. A 'more than just oil' message is being leveraged via an online presence, PR and special events. Lowther said he aims to use the opportunity of the World Cup to reinforce the brand in a “fun and engaging” way, via the B2B web portals,, and

The online elements were launched in early August and the first trade show of many was visited in early September – Offshore Europe in Aberdeen, where over 1,500 suppliers of the offshore technology and service developments exhibit. Castrol is also running print-based ads in trade media.

The ads promote the gaming element of the campaign, including a 'Performance Manager' fantasy-football style game, which offers the chance to go to the FIFA World Cup. An internal, employee mini-league and reward programme has also been created around the theme of “winning performance”.

Using social media to interact with customers

“The World Cup only comes along every four years and social networking has seen such growth in the last four years that this will be the first truly social networking World Cup. It represents a great opportunity to interact on a different level,” says Lowther.

Given that some of Castrol's target customers and prospects are based on ships and offshore rigs, it's far easier for them to access websites than trade magazines, he adds. Groups have been set up on Facebook and LinkedIn, for individuals to share knowledge, or just talk about football. “Online is logical for the campaign, because of its global nature. It's instant, accessible, and can touch many people at all levels,” he explains.

PR as support for marketing efforts

Bristol-based Oakwood Media Group has been retained as design consultant handling all creative and digital work, and Torque PR is handling media relations, content generation and event management. “PR has been a significant part of our investment,” says Lowther. “It's cost-effective, and we're using it to support our marketing efforts, to explain the links between our products and services and football.”

Football-themed customer events are being arranged at B2B trade shows and conferences around the world, with brand ambassadors such as Ronaldo, Marcel Desailly and Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger. “Our brand team chose the brand ambassadors to reflect rigour, passion and a strategic approach,” says Lowther.

Hits to the website have doubled in the past month as a result of the press advertising and PR. “We can tie this back to the football campaign because there have been no other products or services launched in the past month,” he explains.

Lowther says he's been surprised by feedback from non-customers at trade shows stopping at the stand due to the football promotion: “It definitely generated sales leads. The challenge was to link technical industries to football, but we linked it to performance.”

He continues, “The B2B campaign I'm running is just a drop in the ocean, in terms of budget, to the spend from the Castrol masterbrand. We had to make our money work hard to leverage the sponsorship and we spent strategically.”