Guys+cars=True love for Castrol motor oil

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Castrol North America highlights males bonding -- with their cars -- in a new TV effort for its GTX motor oil brand.

The estimated $20 million campaign, which broke this weekend, plays up the unique attachment men have with their autos. TV spots show satisfied-looking men who pilot their vehicles through deep mud and winding highways. As a souped-up version of the Guess Who's "American Woman" plays in the background, a voice-over says: "She's a real beauty. And she never bugs you about spending so much time with the guys. She never complains about you watching football. She thinks a little gas is a good thing . . . Here's to the perfect relationship." The ads retain GTX's "Drive hard" tagline.

The campaign "is about escaping life," said Dean Stefanides, creative director at Castrol ad agency Hampel/Stefanides, New York. "It's about getting away from your job, your wife, your girlfriend," he added. "It's about men's relationship with their cars vs. their relationship with everything else."

The spots will run on network, cable and syndicated TV, with a heavy emphasis on sports programming. The target audience is men in their 20s to 40s who change their own oil. Louise Pegg, Castrol's director of consumer marketing, said the company wanted to appeal to men without being "overly technical" in their approach.

Both Ms. Pegg and Mr. Stefanides said they didn't worry about alienating women with the campaign's manly approach.

"It's not intended to play to the female audience, it appeals to men who are involved with their car," Ms. Pegg said. Mr. Stefanides added that the women who have already screened the ads found the "tongue-in-cheek" approach humorous.

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