Castrol used a mobile gaming app to enlist local mechanics in China as brand ambassadors for its lubricant oil.
Objective and Context:
Castrol is a leading lubricant oil brand. Lubricant oil users are generally male car owners aged 25 to 45, and they only care about the category a few times a year: when they change oil during maintenance.
As a result, the category is low frequency and low involvement. Traditional advertising has a very limited impact on consumers. The lubricant oil category business is driven by sales to independent workshops, especially on the basis of mechanics' recommendations.
But unlike franchises in a fast food chain, Castrol has no control over these independent workshops, because they are managed by individual owners. Independent workshops have no incentives to take part in Castrol's communication campaigns.
Castrol sought a way to get the mechanics in independent workshops in China to care about Castrol and become the brand's most important influencers.
Castrol's target audience was mechanics in independent workshops (i.e., ones managed by individual owners) in China.
Castrol knew that a mechanic’s recommendation exerts a powerful influence on consumers. If mechanics could clearly deliver Castrol’s distinctive selling point and campaign information to consumers during car maintenance, Castrol believed it could drastically improve conversion.
But educating and motivating mechanics is not easy. Mechanics are usually over-worked already and don’t have time to sit down for regular training.
The strategy then become three-fold:
Overall Campaign Execution:
The campaign was 100 percent mobile.
To launch its new mechanics program, Castrol employed a platform mechanics already used day in and day out, WeChat— specifically, a WeChat mini program. Mini programs are essentially apps within an app; a user can open them without ever leaving WeChat. This makes for an innately sharable user experience.
Castrol designed a mini-program for mechanics that gamified the learning experience. First, mechanics could choose their store location by uploading their store front photo for registration. Once they registered, they received a custom poster for their store.
Inside the app, mechanics found a special brand zone with information about how Castrol lubricants work in different types of engines. This both enriched mechanics' knowledge about Castrol and increased the credibility with which they could recommend Castrol.
Mechanics could then compete in a Q&A game to test their knowledge and enter for lucky draws. By playing the game, they also earned points for their workshops on a monthly leaderboard. The winning workshops received practical, valuable prizes like toolkits and products.
Mechanics could invite their mechanic friends to join the competition and win extra lucky-draw chances by simply sharing the mini program. They could also invite their customers to vote for their favorite mechanics.
Over 900 independent workshops participated, and more than 13,000 individual mechanics joined the campaign to become important influencers for Castrol. Furthermore, during the campaign period, each workshop's sales increased by 50 percent, generating 370 percent ROI.