Product / ServiceMAGNATEC
CategoryA10. Best Integrated Content Campaign
Contributing Company DRAGON TV Shanghai, CHINA
Entrant Company MINDSHARE CHINA Shanghai, CHINA
Media Agency MINDSHARE CHINA Shanghai, CHINA
Media Agency 2 GROUPM Beijing, CHINA

The Campaign

When something works in China, it gets copied: On any Sunday this summer, you could choose to watch any one of 13 singing talent shows. There are estimated to be 30 official, and countless more unofficial, reproductions of ‘star-maker’ programming on air in 2012-13. Brands flock to be a part of these near-guarantee hit shows, and standing out amongst co-sponsors before the government has had enough is no mean feat. These talent shows are so popular that when they get “too big”, the government pulls them from air, fearing their influence on moral values. Similarly, online voting has been historically forbidden by the Chinese Government, as it too closely mimics a democratic election process. Thus, Chinese TV talent shows are different from the rest of the world: At-home audiences didn’t have a voice to influence the outcome of the show. Contestants are at the mercy of the judges and the studio audience alone.


Who is Castrol? What’s it for? Weibo (Twitter) is littered with examples of mistaken brand identity where Castrol’s name becomes Carlsberg’s (“When we saw ‘Castrol Workshop’, my friend said ‘It’s a Carlsberg pub’”; “When the auto-shop asked me which engine oil I wanted, I said ‘Carlsberg’”) Castrol needed distinction from similar-sounding brands to communicate ‘Magnatec’ oil protects your engine at ignition, when it is most vulnerable. Objective: Demonstrate Magnatec is most relevant when you start your engine. Improve traffic to site, searches of Castrol brand Keep 36% YOY sales increase trend. Strategy: ‘People don’t [care] about advertising. They [care] about what interests them.’ - Howard Gossage, #23 most influential ad-man of all time (AdAge) 3x more searches exist for talent shows than engine oil (Baidu Index: average 750 vs. average 2400), so we sponsored “Chinese Idol”. But brands shouldn’t piggy-back popularity. They should add value to people’s passions. Castrol, with Idol's producers, created a never-seen-before element: “Protect Your Idol”. Protect your favourite singer when they are most vulnerable (at the start of the series), just like protecting your engine at ignition. For the first time ever, China’s at-home fans could be heard. Prompted to “Protect your Idol with Castrol Magnatec” fans voted online to give their idol an advantage (quick-pass to skip a voting round; first pick in the head-to-head sing-off; allocation of extra points at the final vote). The “Castrol Index” showed TV viewers who was winning support. Behind-the-scenes content on Castrol’s Weibo furthered fans’ passions and drove traffic to the campaign mini-site. A media first, Castrol partnered with WeChat (P2P mobile, social, voice-message app) and integrated it into the show. Fans could vote to “Protect their Idol” via mobile, or sing into the app, tune their voice and share songs with friends.

American Idol is one of most successful shows in the history of television, and in 2013, it came to China for the first time – it may be late to the Talent Show party, but 25% of Chinese people want to be a star (Synnovate). That’s approximately 350m people. Plenty who are still hungry for the very best singing competition in the world. Castrol was only a third-tier sponsor of Chinese Idol. They were not involved in promotion or driving viewers. That was up to national broadcast channel CCTV, and first tier sponsors (Ford, GuangLi Milk).

10m “Castrol’s Protect Your Idol” votes (weekly average). 1m votes on Castrol’s own mini-site (weekly average). +5m page views on own mini-site (weekly average). +1000% increase in Castrol related Weibo activity (from average 1 to 1000 mentions / day). 300% growth in searches for “Castrol” and “Castrol Magnatec” on Baidu, overtaking competitors Mobil One and Shell Helix 78% sales growth. +200 new workshops contracted during campaign period. 420% ROI amongst weekly audience of 140m as 3rd tier sponsor with ¼ of financial investment of 1st tier sponsor. And, with 1 in 14 viewers voting, we had given people in China a voice and made sure they were heard.


Name Company Position
Angela Wang Groupm Esp General Manager
Chungaiz Khan Mumtaz Mindshare Head Of Invention
Roland Tang Groupm Esp Senior Planner
Miro Wang Groupm Esp Director
Yanjia Li Mindshare Associate
Bolin Wang Mindshare Director/Invention
Doris Zhou Mindshare Manager
Leo Feng Mindshare Director
Colin Xu Mindshare Partner
Kevin Zhou Mindshare Managing Director