Mario Karting Re-Imagined

Pennzoil wanted to re-imagine motor oil and was preparing to announce the launch of a ground breaking new motor oil made from natural gas. Its new revolutionary technology converted natural gas into the first-of-its-kind, full synthetic base oil product. This new PurePlus Technology was the first major category innovation in years.

Unfortunately, consumers tended to be apathetic about motor oils. Pennzoil needed to create buzz and get people talking while also outlining the benefits of PurePlus technology.

They chose SXSW Interactive, the biggest tech/innovation festival on the planet. Next, they tapped into nostalgia and did something guaranteed to make the 12-year-old inside everyone totally GEEK OUT. By partnering with Nintendo, Pennzoil brought to life the world’s most popular video games with the first-ever real-world Mario Kart racing!

On the quarter-mile track, attendees could choose among different life-size go-karts – Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach and Bowser – all featuring RFID technology. And just like in the game, classic course icons like the banana peel or red turtle shell slowed down racers. But this time, they could collect Pennzoil Power-Ups, increasing their karts’ speed and performance, making it easy to understand the benefits of Pennzoil PurePlus. Karts were equipped with Go-Pro cameras, broadcasting live racing on track-side jumbo-screens and offered drivers personalized YouTube videos of their experience. They canvassed SXSW with Pennzoil branding and drove buzz through social, search and PR. Finally, they brought Mario Karting Re-imagined to the masses with a show stopping integration on late-night TV’s Jimmy Kimmel Live!

By implementing a totally unexpected partnership between Nintendo and Pennzoil, they appealed to a new and younger audience that understood the connection immediately.

And in using SXSW as the platform, they put the campaign directly in front of the biggest and most influential names in the technology and media. Unsurprisingly, Mario Kart Re-imagined caught everyone’s attention, prompting a deluge of press coverage. Pennzoil kicked off its biggest product launch ever! The campaign generated over 1 billion earned media impressions, 53m Twitter impressions and extensive media converge including outlets like CNN, Fast Company, Wired and TMZ with 90% of those outlets writing about Pennzoil for the first time. And early sales results show Pennzoil PurePlus is flying off the shelves!