Castrol has had a long and (mostly) successful relationship with the video game business via in-game advertising and the promotion of cheat codes. The brand is creative and willing to roll up its sleeves to find the right fit, beginning with "LA Rush" in 2005 and continuing on to EA's "Need for Speed" franchise. Selling motor oil to gamers is a very different prospect than chips or soda, so you have to give the brand that much more respect for its integrations. In-game ads, as we've discussed, are questionable in terms of value, as are cheat codes -- but of a large buy, those things can also often be negotiated in as value-add. Castrol has also done on-pack pieces in the channel, which I commend, but in 2012, digital solutions would be more cost-effective and more likely to generate lift. But when the brand and MS3 parted ways, its gaming initiatives came to a screeching halt.
What's next: Castrol USA doesn't mention gaming at all on its site. Castrol India however, has an entire section dedicated to it. I suggest that the brand share the assets! Games are sticky and generate traffic and interest. If compelling enough, it may even go viral. There are a few firms that specialize in working with game developers on behalf of agencies and brands to accomplish precisely this. If you're interested, just leave a note in the comments and I'm sure the company will reach out. Gamers like games, as do the vast majority of consumers. Bring the Mountain to Moses, as they say. Reach out to Team Detroit and Ford and make some "bad asp" downloadable content together (see license plate in the image above).
Hal Halpin is President of Entertainment Consumers Association.
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