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Quaker State highlights marketing clichés via satirical, Onion-produced social campaign

Motor oil brand Quaker State is bringing a satirical spin to its latest social media campaign ? created in conjunction with digital media company Onion Inc. ? with a custom YouTube video that pokes fun at marketing fads used to attract customers.

Quaker State is attempting to shun fancy marketing tactics and direct consumers? attention toward the quality of its products by rolling out the new video campaign, which employs digital publication The Onion?s satirical tone. The campaign?s first video - which is available on YouTube and The Onion's Web site as well as its social channels - showcases a fake product with a plethora of tech-savvy features, playing on consumers? desire for increasingly advanced mobile-first items.

?We think consumers will respect a brand that isn't afraid to call out the gimmicks perpetuated by the industry,? said Rick Hamann, chief creative officer at Onion, Inc. ?We've found that, across the board, consumers will respond positively to a brand that can effectively create smart humor.?

Getting rid of gimmicks
Quaker State?s latest campaign was designed to poke fun at the often-gimmicky tactics used by marketers in the oil industry to drum up brand awareness and sales. Quaker State seeks to bring the advertising focus back to the quality of motor oil by leveraging social media to pinpoint some of the marketing fads used to entice customers.

The Onion, a publication that covers satirical news stories often centering on pop culture or major events, was chosen as a campaign partner due to the no-nonsense tone it uses in its pieces.

The first video highlights a fake product called ?The Dipstick 6s,? which functions as a standard oil dipstick complete with a selfie cam and a digital ticker that showcases sports and weather updates.

The video begins with a voiceover claiming that while dipsticks have typically only performed one function, those days are over. It then segues into showing off the Dipstick 6s, which features headlines slowly scrolling by on an HD display, lubricated by the oil.

Additionally, the nonexistent object?s 12 megapixel front-facing camera helps transform the item into a selfie stick. The voiceover purports that the stick connects wirelessly to social media as well, so that friends will never miss an individual?s oil-changing experience.

The satirical commercial then pauses as the words ?Stop the B.S.? flash across the screen. Another voice proclaims ?No more high-tech gadgetry, just damn good oil? as the screen pans to a stationary image of three bottles of Quaker State oil.

Exposing true brand sentiment
Quaker State sought to collaborate with The Onion due to the publication?s reputation of exposing societal truths. The campaign encompasses six videos, the rest of which will roll out from May to September.

Each video will include a twist on well-known marketing fads, such as commercial jingles.

?We all know millennials are averse to traditional advertising, so connecting in a different way is crucial,? Mr. Hamann said. ?We find our satirical take on everyday human truths to be one of the most effective ways to reach and influence this market.?

Leveraging mobile video is likely a smart move for the motor oil brand, as the advertising medium has proven to resonate well with most consumers.

Mobile video has skyrocketed with consumer use and brand adoption, but interactive video ads are taking the tactic another step further by fully immersing viewers into content, challenging marketers to learn a new skill set (see story).

Last year, Schick USA tapped a mobile-optimized video that asked male consumers to interact with an eccentric character and vote for their top three indisposable comforts to promote its Xtreme3 razors, suggesting that consumer packaged goods marketers are well-served offering interactive elements in their mobile video campaigns (see story).

?We chose mobile and social for the same reason we always choose mobile and social: social is the most efficient way to scale a video campaign?s reach against millennial audiences and mobile represents the dominant mode of their interaction,? Mr. Hamann said.