Only a few seconds into the first episode of "Lowrider Roll Models," we meet Steve Alvarez-Mott, an obstetrician and gynecologist who practices in Glendora and San Dimas, Calif. The camera slowly focuses in on Alvarez-Mott's face as he explains how he got involved in the lowrider culture–a world where elaborately customized classic cars with hydraulics brings Latino families together. In the background bottles of Quaker State oil line the shelves.
It's subtle product integration executed well by TEN: The Enthusiast Network. Nancy Bruner, Shell Lubricants manager of influencer strategy and engagement, was looking for an experience that would let advocates in the lowrider community see that Shell was equally passionate about helping their community thrive.
Shell Lubricant's involvement began in 2015 as a way to gain traction and awareness in the U.S. Hispanic market, explained Rudy Rivas, GM, Lowrider Network. Mr. Rivas met with Don Moser, North America Marketing Manager at Shell Oil Company and Ms. Bruner many times, getting to know each other and developing friendships. It was a good match, said Mr. Rivas, because everyone involved shared an appreciation for not only the cars, but also the people and culture surrounding the lowrider lifestyle. Even though the LOWRIDER staff are "knucklebusters who have grease under their nails", the human interest aspect of each episode offers broad appeal.
During those multiple meetings, the group brainstormed ways TEN could help Shell by creating custom video content that would make a difference in the lowrider community.TEN's LOWRIDER magazine staffers had toyed with the idea of creating video for years, said Mr. Rivas, and having Shell Lubricant, featuring Quaker State Motor Oils, be a part of it made it all the more enthralling. "They wanted to integrate with a program that shows respect to the culture of the lowrider car enthusiast," he said. "TEN has always been a first mover and helped brands grow new and existing audiences. We knew we could help the Quaker State brand activate and drive real engagement with the audience they wanted to reach."
After bouncing a few ideas back and forth, Rivas and the team at Shell Lubricants decided to turn the magazine's "Roll Model" column into a monthly video series, focusing on the four pillars of lowriding: performance, artistry, pride, and culture. The short video segments would profile male and female lowrider community leaders and their cars. It would also work to dispel outdated, negative myths about the lifestyle. (Television and movies have done a good job of making lowriding synonymous with organized crime and guns.) The fact that the people and cars featured in the lowrider series are true role models, working in their own communities for the betterment of all is an added benefit for Quaker State.
"In the case of 'Roll Models,' it wasn't just, 'We want to market to you [Hispanic community].' It was really building out the idea of, 'We have a shared passion around automotive and design. We all share this love.' Now, we can help change the perception of a culture that has really well-respected folks designing, building and driving lowriders. For us, that's incredibly appealing," said Ms. Bruner.
That includes putting product in the hands of the lowrider car clubs and community to support their passion."By supporting the lowrider community with product that they want and use, we help deliver a message that we all want to deliver – getting the stories told," said Ms. Bruner.
To date, the videos–which launched in March 2016–have generated over 3.9 million views, and over 325,000 likes, comments, shares to date. There's also cross-promotion via the one-page profile in the print magazine. While Ms. Bruner will not disclose all metrics, she said Shell Lubricants is "pleased with the program and our investment in underwriting has been well-placed."
One reason: Quaker State is seeing a great benefit from earned media. "We've seen a big increase in earned media awareness. There have been a lot of interview opportunities for us as well. From a reputation and brand perspective, the earned media is phenomenal and begins to build the credibility piece for us," she explained. "It helps us to appeal to a broader number of people."
About the Sponsor
TEN: The Enthusiast Network is the world's premier transmedia network of enthusiast brands, such as MOTOR TREND, AUTOMOBILE, HOT ROD, SURFER, TRANSWORLD SKATEBOARDING, and GRINDTV. TEN's audience represents the largest concentration of males age 18 to 34 within the automotive and action/outdoor categories.TEN helps brands connect with a powerful, active and influential group of passionate enthusiasts. Its massive scale across all platforms allows partners unmatched reach. For more information, visit enthusiastnetwork.com.