BACKGROUND The runaway merchandising success of its talking-car advertising campaign put Chevron Corporation on a fast lane into the toy business.
Chevron Corporation, one of the world's largest integrated petroleum companies, is involved in every aspect of the industry, from exploration and production to transportation, refining and retail marketing. It is active in more than 100 countries and employs about 31,000 people worldwide.
In 1996, Chevron launched a successful marketing campaign that featured personality-based cars in a series of animated television commercials produced by Aardman Animations, the company that produced Wallace and Gromit. Chevron introduced its toy collectible cars in conjunction with the commercials. The toy cars quickly became so popular that Chevron still doesn't even have to advertise them - their popularity has grown by word of mouth alone.
Chevron began exploring how best to use multimedia and the Internet as means of extending its new Car campaign beyond print and television. Chevron's marketers were focused on three key goals:
Extending the Chevron brand to a wider demographic and geographic audience
Deepening consumer relationships with the Chevron brand
Generating increased sales of the toy cars
Chevron launched the ChevronCars website in 1998. The site, which is part of the Chevron Cars campaign, leverages the popularity of the Toy Car characters developed for Chevron's TV commercials. ISL designed and built an engaging, multi-dimensional Web environment where children and adults find a variety of interactive resources that play on Chevron Cars themes. The site educates and entertains with a combination of fresh, compelling content and clever technologies. Since its inception, www.chevroncars.com has been recognized as a pioneering and highly successful vehicle for extending and deepening a powerful brand through the use of online media. The benefits for Chevron have been many.
By not flooding the market, Chevron shows every sign of being in this enterprise for the long haul. After all, the company is making most of its money from the gas and food it sells; toys are just another way to attract customers. Chevron are expected to continue to release only a handful of cars biannually and reproduce older versions in limited quantities. It is important to note that Chevron has not actually retired any of the cars. Older cars are due to be available again periodically.