Making a big statement.

How we helped an underdog in the marketplace build a powerful brand identity.

What we did

Account Management
Brand Strategy
User Interviews
Campaign Concept
Creative Direction
Art Direction and Design
Photo/Film Direction
Digital Strategy
Website Development
Integrated Media Strategy
Integrated Media Planning and Buying
Consolidated Reporting


While Valvoline is well regarded among the Personal Car Motor Oil and Quick Service markets, it’s not seen as a major player in the Heavy Duty market, where loyalty is paid to the major oil conglomerates. It’s a tough marketplace, where the primary audience of fleet owners is relatively set in their ways.


Valvoline’s products stand up to the most rigorous standards. Tough products for tough applications.

Our campaign became a gritty, no-nonsense appeal to the blue-collar American fleet owner and heavy duty operator. Rather than inflated claims and marketing jargon, we rested on the authentic values of the company and invited our audience to reconsider the cookie cutter products and service they’ve been accustomed to.


How the Tough Get Going™ became the foundation of the Valvoline Heavy Duty brand, our basis for articulating Valvoline’s commitment to hands-on expertise to a new audience. We set out to further legitimize a strong product offering with a confident and bold story—a promise to live up to the Valvoline name through expertise, hard-work, reliability and results.


Tim Jones, Creative Director

“Having a product line like Valvoline HD that doesn’t carry the same weight of the global Valvoline name was a challenge. You’ve got the company on the map, but this product segment is a different ballgame. Knowing that we had an uphill climb in the heavy duty world, we really just owned being the underdog. We threw it right in your face that we know we’re not the first guy on your list – but maybe we should be.”

To bring it all to life aesthetically, we went out to Montana to scout back in logging country, way back in the thick of it where 18-wheelers are sliding around on muddy corners. We wanted to show where these machines go and why these greases and lubricants are so important in their daily life at work.”


Mike Dominick, Media Director

“With Valvoline HD, we’re targeting a very specific individual – fleet owners and operators nationwide. So, it’s a lot industry publications, but being able to find people outside of those publications is what’s most interesting. We’re able to use device ID targeting for the actual fleet headquarters to then identify who that fleet owner is. So, if there are 500 people in a building, we know we’re able to segment that further and get down to the behavioral criteria that is most interesting to them.

We are doing two things with Valvoline HD: we’re driving leads for their sales team, utilizing media as a kind of sales assistant for their teams to capture peoples’ attention and make them aware of HD, but we’re also generating leads from where the sales team can then call on that person, so it’s no longer a cold call.”