Sunoco is moving from scents to sounds with this summer's Essence of Racing campaign. Developed with agency Allen & Gerritsen , Team Epic, and MayoSeitz Media, the creative features NASCAR's Jimmie Johnson, IndyCar's Graham Rahal, and NHRA's Courtney Force dressed as symphony maestros conducting an orchestra composed of various racing sounds.
Fans are encouraged to visit Sunoco's digital soundboard to listen to the signature sounds of each spot as well as create their own songs. People are averaging more than a minute and a half on the soundboard, with some spending upwards of 6 minutes, says the agency.
"We loved the stylish black and white look we created to a break from the hyper-color world of motorsports, and the notion of our drivers conducting symphonies of sound," says Drew Kabakoff, senior director of brand marketing, Sunoco. "We found some great reference pieces but didn’t really know if mixing the sounds of racing into any sort of composition would work, sonically or visually. It could have been one big loud mess. But it turned out awesome."
The campaign includes broadcast, print, digital, mobile and social. TV spots run within nationally televised races and are supported with sponsored social ads and racing site takeovers.
"Our goal is to optimize all of our paid, owned and earned channels to give fans great content and experiences," says Kabakoff. "Because of Sunoco’s exclusive motorsports partnerships, we also get unbelievable exposure from teams, drivers and the sanctions (NASCAR, IndyCar and NHRA). When the brand posts something on social we get great engagement, but when it gets shared or promoted by one of these partners the effect is exponential."
This project follows last year's smell campaign that centered on the scents of the racetrack and included the limited-edition Burnt Rubbèr fragrance that was created to smell like the actual course.
We know this is a very strong platform based on our 2015 results, and we believe it conveys our position in motorsports in an authentic and creative way," says Kabakoff. "And because auto racing is such a visceral experience that literally attacks all five senses, there are many paths we can explore with it - smell and sound being just the first two." He adds, "We can’t wait until we get to taste."