Campaign Whiteboard: Castrol

Paul Goodmaker, global head of sponsorship, on the oil brand's 'Hang Up Your Key' covid campaign.


It seems counter-intuitive that a brand that has kept people moving for 120 years would promote a message that stopped people using their products. But that’s exactly what we did at Castrol as part of our response to the current pandemic.

At a time when I was looking forward to the start of another exciting motorsport season, instead I found myself working from home, joining a Covid-19 response session virtually with marketing colleagues from across the world, considering if Castrol could play a role in encouraging people to stay safe.

Our agency partner in India, Lintas Media, came up with the idea to encourage people to not use their vehicles, to stay home and stay safe with the message to “Hang Up Your Key”. Of course key workers need to keep using their vehicles and get them serviced and maintained when necessary and everyone needs to get essential supplies if they cannot get them delivered, but we wanted to remind those of us who DON'T need to be driving to leave the road to the essential workers.

I felt that we had some very powerful brand ambassadors via our global motorsport sponsorships that could help us spread this message across Europe. At a time when there are no races and the drivers remain at home like everyone else, we thought this was a great way to support the public health guidance in many countries.

We worked with our global agency partner, Team Energy at WPP, and we all agreed that by the time we would be live, people would have had enough of celebrity talking heads simply telling them to stay home and that people might welcome something a bit different.

The team came up with a fantastic idea to ask our motorsport team drivers to film themselves playing at home with toy cars, with their families (where relevant). We decided to extend this to the whole “Castrol family” including our customers and our employees too, to show that we all have a role to play.

It was a busy few days briefing everyone and waiting patiently for the content to be sent through. Our motorsport partner account teams were very supportive, making themselves available for briefing calls, coaching the drivers on what we needed, or asking them to reshoot when the first attempt wasn’t quite right.

Whilst we hoped the content would be well received as a light-hearted way to encourage people to stay at home, we also wanted to show the other initiatives on our website that Castrol and our parent company BP is taking across the world and provided tips for how to look after car whilst you cannot drive.

We launched the film on Saturday 4th April through our owned social channels and as of 30th April, the film has reached over 30 million users with very strong completion and engagement rates. More importantly, I’m hoping that the film has encouraged more people to hang up their key and stay home to stop the spread of the virus.


Paul Goodmaker, global head of sponsorship at Castrol


Here is the timeline of how we did it:

· Briefed our global agency partner Team Energy at WPP - 27th March

· Signed off the creative idea - 29th March

· Briefed motorsport teams, drivers, customers and colleagues - 30th March

· Received over 300 video clips between from - 31st March – 2nd April

· Content sign off and approvals - 3rd April

· Go live through organic Castrol social channels & shared via motorsport partners - 4th April


Special thanks go to the following:

· Our motorsport team partners that helped source all the driver content and of course the drivers who contributed including:

· Daniel Ricciardo & Esteban Ocon - Renault DP World F1® Team

· Cal Crutchlow - LCR Honda Castrol MotoGP Team

· Petter & Oliver Solberg - Solberg World Rally Team

· Mitch Evans & James Calado - Panasonic Jaguar Racing Formula E Team

· Nico Müller - Audi Sport DTM Team

· My colleagues across Castrol who helped brief the teams, drivers, mechanics and filmed themselves for the film too.

· And last but not least, the WPP Team Energy team led by Ogilvy (Strategy/Account), VMLY&R (Creative), Hogarth (Production), Mindshare and Neo (media),

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