A New Shine for Eagle One1 Oct, 2008 By: Thomas Haire Response
Robert Stravitz says a direct response TV campaign for Valvoline's brand of automotive appearance products helped drive positive sales growth — both direct and at retail — in a declining market.
"With Eagle One, which had low brand awareness, direct response TV was a very efficient way to build the brand," says Robert K. Stravitz, vice president of global brands for Valvoline, a division of Ashland Inc., and parent of the Eagle One line of automotive appearance products. "When you can quantify results, it gives you the confidence to continue investing. Those quickly measurable results allow you to adjust rapidly and optimize your campaign as you go."
Top-notch results were exactly what Stravitz got when he decided to go the DRTV route to promote and sell Eagle One's products. Focusing on educating consumers about the company's ingredients and utilization of "Nanotechnology" could improve the car-cleaning experience, the campaign for Eagle One — which included a long-form show, short-form spots and sales Web site — can be called an unqualified success.
Stravitz and the Eagle One team knew the challenge was to educate consumers about the Nanotechnology used in its products. DRTV provided the answers.
"We have products that fit very well with the DR model — a focused demographic, extremely demonstrable products that create great visuals and technology that's easy to explain and understand, " says Stravitz.
Stravitz has an understanding of the direct response model, as his background — including stops at such major companies as Clorox, Intuit and Del Monte Foods — allowed him to experiment with different marketing concepts prior to taking on responsibility for all consumer marketing activities related to Valvoline's U.S. do-it-yourself (DIY) business.
However, the expansive nature of the DR campaign for Eagle One's product line was a different kind of challenge. In a declining market, Stravitz's goal was to create brand awareness and expand sales and revenues, including with retail partners like AutoZone and Wal-Mart.
Stravitz's team enlisted long-time DRTV agency Cesari Direct of Seattle to help them build the campaign, which was built around the positioning statement, "Great Results in Less Time."
Joining Experience and Potential
That positioning could also well describe both Stravitz's career, as well as Eagle One's rise in the automotive aftermarket products business. "I started out at Clorox in 1992," Stravitz says. "While I didn't use DR in my realm at Clorox, I did see the launch of the ReadyMop there, which really used DRTV to drive retail sales."
He then moved on to Intuit, where he was responsible for marketing small business software. "It was there that I started getting really involved with direct response marketing," Stravitz contends. "At Intuit, our direct response was across many different media, and we found it drove both direct and retail sales. We did DRTV, and though — looking back — it looks like a pretty clunky campaign, it did well. We probably drove 25 percent of our sales direct and 75 percent at retail."
Stravitz's experience in using DR to drive retail would come in handy when, after a short stint at Del Monte Foods, he joined the Valvoline team in 2005. He rose to his current position in May 2006. "My role here, in handling all branding and marketing activity for the company's DIY brands, cuts across auto lubricants and Eagle One's product line," he says.
Eagle One became a Valvoline product line in 1998, when Valvoline (which is a division of the Fortune 500 company Ashland Inc.) bought the company that had been founded by Bernard Li in Carlsbad, Calif., in 1978. "Valvoline eventually moved Eagle One's operations to Kentucky," Stravitz says.