Castrol: The emotional twist

By Biprorshee Das , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | June 15, 2011
With the latest television commercial for Castrol, Ogilvy has tried introducing the emotional angle to explore relationships in a category, otherwise characterised by rational and mechanical advertising.

The truck driver with a heart! The new television commercial by Castrol for premium multigrade diesel engine oil Castrol CRB Turbo, brings in the emotional angle to a truck driver's lifestyle, while at the same time, communicates the product benefit. It has been designed by Ogilvy India.

The agency was briefed to bring in a fresh perspective of the brand and its proposition, and to move away from the clichéd problem-solution situations in the category.

Ogilvy decided to bring forth the human element, with the truck driver having a soft corner for his vehicle, as well as being sensitive to his family responsibilities. And, at the same time, the agency also communicated to truck drivers and fleet owners, the benefits of using the product to keep the engine new for a longer time.

The film has been shot in Hindi and Tamil, and has been directed by Vivek Kakkad of Curious Films.

Talking to afaqs!, Abhijit Avasthi, national creative director, Ogilvy India, says, "There has been a lot of rational advertising done for the brand, as well as in the category. This time we decided to go ahead with the emotional connect and explore the relationship of the truck driver with his vehicle and family. The flavour of the film lies in the driver being shown as the toughie who knows his vehicle, but also comes across as a romantic at heart."

Avasthi adds that the fresh situation is also in keeping with Ogilvy's core concept of emotionally engaging with audiences.

"The communication task was to fuel the growth momentum on the CRB Turbo brand, and further deepen the relationship of consumers with our brand. Research indicates that one of the key emotional drivers of our target audience is care, and providing for their families. They value their relationship with their trucks, as much as their relationships with their family members," says Giriraj Bagri, vice-president, Castrol India.

The television campaign is being supported by ground-level activation, in-store, and outdoor promotions.

Food for thought

The commercial has received mixed responses from professionals. The strategy to move away from the typical clichés of the category has been welcomed and is being seen as a clutter-breaking move.

Raghu Bhat, founder and director, Scarecrow Communications, says, "There are a lot of category codes in trucker communication, but this ad tries two new things. It uses a woman very prominently in the storyline. It also uses emotion and romance in a highly rational category. These are laudable."

Bhat says the only false note in the ad happens when the woman starts talking about Castrol engine oil as a reference point. But, he is of the view that the performances are natural enough, with the message coming through well.

Amit Kekre, planning head, Mudra West, has a slightly more critical view to offer. He says that the product benefit comes through easily in the ad, and the analogy of relationships is a much-needed welcome change in the category.

However, he also says that while the commercial operates in what otherwise is typically a male bastion, the idea of bringing the 'wife' in the same space is something that goes against the conceived notion.

Kekre also thinks that the choice of the model who plays the truck driver's wife is not very convincing as she comes across as a tad too glamorous.

"A typical truck driver spends a lot of time away from the family, out on the roads. The space within the truck is a crude, crass, male space. Within that space, to bring in the 'wife', I am not sure how prudent it is," says Kekre.

"It is a fresh thought, definitely, but the archetype of a sensitive trucker emasculates the truck driver, which may or may not be a very wise move," he adds.

According to Kekre, the relationship analogy could have been further explored, and could have been more believable, particularly for truck drivers, if instead of the wife and family, the idea of friendship had been used.

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