Aurora Magazine

Promoting excellence in advertising

Rumble in the Urban Jungle

PSO enters the jungle with their ‘Conquer with Carient’ campaign.
Published 27 Feb, 2024 04:31pm

Approximately 400 million litres of automotive lubricants are used in Pakistan every year, and this market is expected to grow at a rate of 3.5% in the next four years due to growth in the automobile, transportation, and power generation segments (source: Mordor Intelligence, 2024). The lubricants market mainly comprises engine oils, transmission fluids, hydraulic fluids and gear oil for automobiles.

According to a 2018 article in Business Recorder, Pakistan State Oil (PSO) was the second largest player in the lubricants market with a share of 14%, with Shell Pakistan capturing 21%. Other major players include Caltex, Zic, Castrol, ExxonMobil, Total PARCO, and Chevron Corporation.

However, according to Farhan Zakir, Senior Manager (Brand Retail and Lubricants), PSO, “with market dynamics changing quickly, PSO now has a 25% share in the lubricants market while Caltex is the market leader.” He adds that PSO’s reach across Pakistan is the most far-reaching. “We have 3,500+ outlets across Pakistan, and the availability of our products, coupled with five decades’ worth of experience in serving customers across Pakistan, gives our brand an edge.”

On November 20, 2023, PSO introduced their ‘Conquer with Carient’ campaign which showcases PSO’s lubricant portfolio and associates their four main variants – Carient S-Pro, Carient Fully Synthetic, Carient Ultra and Carient Plus – with a lion, an eagle, a wolf and a black panther respectively.

“The idea was to mirror the competitive nature of today’s corporate world and how one needs a reliable and strong partner to conquer the day. Furthermore, due to this fierce competition, our animal instincts surface in the concrete jungle of the city. The products were represented by vicious predators as a way to help people be their best on the road to conquer the day,” says Oswald Lucas, Chief Creative Officer, RG Blue Communications (PSO’s agency). The primary objective, he says, is to increase PSO’s market share.

Initially, RG Blue wanted to shoot the commercial with real animals to ensure authenticity, but due to issues related to timing, logistics and budgets, they opted for animations. In the meantime, the winding roads, race tracks, and mountainous terrains were shot in Lahore and Nathia Gali, among other cities, and were later merged with the animation.

PSO’s previous communications have focused on the technical benefits of their lubricants and this time RG Blue wanted to express these technical benefits in layman’s terms as well as develop an emotional connection with the target audience – SEC A and B+, and people aged between 25 and 45 years old. Lucas elaborates that the target group for the campaign are ‘power-driven corporate executives who want to take control of their day.’

Lucas adds that while people do rely on their mechanics and service centres for recommendations, car owners do have a role to play in decision-making and the campaign aims to create top-of-mind awareness (TOMA) amongst them.

Lubricants commercials usually consist of standard animations of oil flowing into a car’s engine, falling through the gears, pistons and bolts, and highlighting the technical nature of the product. According to Lucas, “We did not completely remove those animations as they highlight the USP of the product, but we did not put the focus on them; rather, we wanted to give the consumer something that would help them develop a connection with the brand. Overall, we wanted to give the audience a better way of connecting technical benefits with the product and making more informed decisions.”

Lucas points out that PSO is a home-grown heritage brand and while Shell and Caltex may be the consumers’ choice because these are ‘foreign’ products (an attribute sometimes associated with better quality), over the years, car owners have realised that PSO’s lubricants are better options because they are manufactured keeping in mind local market conditions, and are therefore custom-made keeping in mind Pakistan’s different weather patterns, unlike international brands which have standardised offerings. For example, a car owner in northern Pakistan uses a variant that offers the right oil viscosity for the cold weather there, whereas in the south, customers use a different variant that provides corrosion and rust protection, which becomes an issue in humid weather.

Carient’s variants are all priced on par with its primary competitors, Caltex and Shell, and Lucas believes that PSO’s offering is superior. At the time of writing, on average, PSO’s four-litre SKUs are priced at approximately between Rs 3,894 and 7,062, while Shell and Caltex lubricants are available at approximately Rs 6,000.

“While one cannot deny that Carient benefits from the brand persona of PSO’s fuelling stations, the aim of this campaign was to help the product stand on its own,” says Lucas. Carient lubricants are available at PSO’s fuelling stations as well as in auto parts and car accessory stores, and in order to boost sales from these retail outlets, the product had to stand out.

‘Conquer with Carient’ was promoted on digital platforms in addition to TV, print and OOH.

On the digital front, PSO Carient paired up with content creator and social media influencer Irfan Junejo and organised a contest in which 10 people were given the chance to win the ‘Carient Predator Box’ for sharing the challenges they have faced in their lives and how they conquered them.

In terms of timing, Lucas is of the view that the product is an all-year-round requirement. “It’s not very seasonal in nature, but car performance is usually an issue in the winter; hence, we wanted to roll out the campaign as winter kicked in.”

The campaign will continue in the form of a series, which will include separate narratives for the eagle, black panther and wolf, as so far only S-Pro (the lion variant) has been focused upon in digital and outdoor communications.

The response to the campaign, as measured by social media metrics, has “exceeded expectations.” The campaign has also been appreciated by the creative community, and Lucas believes that it is a good departure from PSO Carient’s previous communications that focused on the technical aspects of the product and were validated by a foreigner communicating the benefits. The current campaign, he says, highlights the “truly national nature” of the brand and gives it impetus to live up to its national heritage.