Castrol's sponsorship of the 2010 Fifa World Cup presented an opportunity for the brand to build its profile in Japan and achieve a number of objectives: To bolster low brand awareness (31% among Japanese men, compared with 70% in Europe) and boost sales.
Castrol set itself a challenge - link the seemingly disparate concepts of engine oil and football by developing the world's fastest kicking machine, the Ichi-GO. The campaign started with the release of information detailing the production process via social networks and blogs and the a dedicated website (www.castrol-l.jp). Castrol tested an electric prototype, before constructing a gasoline-powered engine in September. By November, the Ichi-GO robot was able to stand by itself. Throughout December and January, after much trial and error, a kicking leg that could boot a football at 200km/h was in operation. On January 25, 2010, the Ichi-GO made its public debut at a packed press conference in Tokyo. The robot received subsequent invitations to a variety of events and TV programmes during the build-up to the World Cup. Capping it all, during the World Cup in South Africa, Ichi-GO managed hit the 225km/h mark and broke the Guinness world record for "fastest football kick by a machine".
The Ichi-GO became widely discussed online, with Google recording 11m search hits on the story; and was covered in 150 media outlets. Most tellingly, it contributed to Castrol's largest sales boost for years - its premium products, including its EDGE brand, saw a 29% increase in volume and 25% hike in gross margin year-on-year.
In China, KFC operates over three times more stores than McDonald’s and because it entered the market 10 years prior to McDonald’s, most consumers associated chicken-based fast-food with KFC. McDonald’s was presented with the challenges of getting more people buying its chicken wings and countering the growing impact of Chinese fast-food chains on its market share.
McDonald’s wanted to get people talking about its chicken wings using online as the only media channel, so it formed a partnership with QQ.com and Renren.com. To generate ‘buzz’, it seeded an array of viral videos to promote McWings as the best chicken wings in the market.
Consumers were encouraged to pledge their ‘love’ for McWIngs via a dedicated QQ-McDonald’s Pledging website and were told that if 1m pledges were received, McDonald’s would reward them. When this target was hit, the brand turned seven of its restaurants into McWings-themed stores, where free wings were given out and a new flavour was launched.
The videos were viewed over 3m ties and 180,000 people forwarded them to friends. In just four weeks, over 2m people pledged their ‘love’ for McWings on the campaign website. Sentiment translated into business success, with McDonald’s experiencing a 10% boost in McWings sales. McDonald’s estimated the value of the publicity surrounding the campaign at US $761,000.