In the face of rising gas prices, the Albuquerque, N.M. company has adjusted the marketing strategy of its Pulstar spark plugs from one stressing increased performance to one showcasing fuel economy. "We were finding that more people who just had regular cars and were interested in fuel economy were buying our products," Enerpulse's marketing manager, Natalie Carter, tells Marketing Daily.
According to Carter, the Pulstar plugs use a proprietary technology from Sandia National Laboratory that stores and expels power to the engine in pulses that increase horsepower and torque. Using the plugs provides an average 6% increase in fuel efficiency or roughly three miles per gallon, Carter says.
As company research showed more people were buying the Pulstar plugs for fuel economy reasons, performance took a back seat to gas savings in the company's marketing strategy. "Had it not been for the fuel situation the way it is, we would have continued along our performance strategy," Carter says. "This is a broader campaign based on our finding and the [sales] results we've been seeing."
Thus, the company has embarked on a new print and television advertising campaign that depicts a gas pump as a boxer beating customers up. "Tired of getting beat up at the pump?" the ad asks. The ad encourages people to "fight back" using the Pulstar spark plugs.
With a broader scope and owing to the timeliness of the message, the simple image was the most powerful, Carter says. "Everybody understands this simple image," she says. "Because our audience is much broader, everyone can get our ad."
The television ad is initially running on 33 channels on the Dish satellite network, and might move to broader cable networks soon, Carter says. The print ad is running in magazines such as the Atlantic Monthly, Outside, Scientific American and Popular Mechanics, as well as car enthusiast books.