Castrol North America has entered into an exclusive co-branding deal with UnderGroundOnline to target online males age 18 to 34.
Aiming to promote its Castrol GTX motor oil, the deal runs through Dec. 31 and includes a car give away promotion, logos, e-mails, text links and a presence on the UnderGroundOnline site at www.ugo.com. Offline, Castrol will be part of a grass-roots truck tour.
“In general, it's raising awareness,” said Lauren Segal, Internet manager at Castrol, Wayne, NJ. “We're not selling online. We're hoping to initiate contact with this young male audience … so that when they do become purchasers, Castrol is in their consideration set.”
Part of British petroleum and energy giant BP, Castrol claims to be a leading motor oil brand among do-it-yourself motorists. Apart from ads and sponsorships of junior drag-racing events to rouse awareness for its brands, Castrol has little experience with Internet marketing.
A sweepstakes deal with Yahoo Autos and another promotion with SpeedLeague.com are Castrol North America's other online initiatives, Segal said. The UGO effort is an attempt to go beyond simple banner buys or sweepstakes on the Internet.
Founded three years in New York, UGO is an online entertainment community of affiliated sites with edgy content. Categories include animation, wrestling, games, TV and films, music and technology.
As part of the arrangement, Castrol is the exclusive sponsor of the Motorious contest. Consumers can enter a sweepstakes at the co-branded motorious.ugo.com to win a custom-made, $150,000 BMW car called Vendetta.
Fixed Castrol GTX logos on the Motorious site will link to the company site at www.castrol.com. The Castrol logo also is integrated into Motorious streaming video. Text links on the same Motorious site whisk visitors to the Castrol site.
Additional fixtures on the Motorious site include a permanent Castrol reminder tool for oil changes, upcoming promotions, news, and Castrol questions on the contest registration page.
A key attraction of the deal is the direct marketing component.
UGO will push the car give away sweepstakes to at least 70,000 e-mail recipients on its promotions mailing list. Castrol also will have access to the UGO database of opt-in e-mails and names for the sponsorship's duration.
The Castrol deal is part of an effort by UGO to strike co-branding and advertising relationships with traditional bricks-and-mortar brands. Recent clients include Toyota, Sega of America, Warner Bros., Volkswagen, American Express Co., Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co. and Coca-Cola Co.
UGO in August recorded 3.9 million unique visitors to its site, according to Media Metrix.
Quoting the same Media Metrix numbers, Sabine Heller, spokeswoman for UGO, said the site attracted the highest composition of males online between 18 and 34 years old.
“This means that we have a higher concentration of males between 18 and 34 years old on our site than the World Wrestling Federation's WWF.com and ESPN Internet Group,” Heller said.
So, 35.4 percent of 18- to 34-year-old males on the Internet are UGO network visitors. The World Wrestling Federation has 35.1 percent, and the ESPN Internet Group has 33.2 percent. IGN, another online network popular with the young demographic, has 32.7 percent.
“We're able to give them much more than, say, an agency would, or a DoubleClick or 24/7 type could, where they're just delivering eyeballs,” said J. Moses, UGO's president/CEO. “We're delivering a high concentration of eyeballs of this young male audience, plus a relationship with the content and with promotions and with other products.”
Indeed, the Castrol deal is not restricted to the Internet.
Castrol will participate in UGO's RoadRave truck tour to concerts, sporting events and trade shows across the country. Castrol logos will run on video screens flanking the vehicle and will be displayed alongside Motorious' logo on the 10 computer screens aboard each truck.
The Castrol logo also will gain real estate on the RoadRave site at roadrave.ugo.com.
“Our strategy for Castrol is to deliver them much more value on a cost-per-thousand basis than they can get from other media like television, radio, magazines or newspapers,” Moses said.
For Castrol, the UGO deal is still an experiment. A longtime user of traditional media and advertising methods, the marketer only this year began looking at online marketing.
“One of our primary targets as a motor oil company is young men,” Castrol's Segal said. “You [now] need to have the Internet as part of your media to effectively reach young men.”
More importantly, since a large chunk of Castrol's target audience is online, it has little choice but to market in that medium and catch younger males while they are still flexible about motor oil options.
“The idea is to expose them to Castrol branding at an early age,” Segal said. “Brand loyalty is very high in this category.”