How Queensland Department of Energy and Water Supply fuelled re-evaluations

Case study: the E10 OK campaign aimed to address misconceptions and promote consumer reappraisal of E10 fuel in Queensland.

This article originally appeared in The Serve Issue, our October/November 2017 print edition of Marketing magazine.

 

Campaign: Biofuels education campaign – ‘E10 OK’.

Client: Queensland Department of Energy and Water Supply.

Agency: Ogilvy Australia, Brisbane.

 

Background

To stimulate economic growth and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the Queensland Government’s Biofuels Mandate requires E10 petrol sales to double. The problem is that E10 petrol is not a popular choice among motorists.

Ogilvy and the Department of Energy and Water Supply (DEWS) embarked on a digital-centric campaign that is successfully engaging an ambivalent audience in a low-involvement category.

While E10, an ethanol-blended fuel, had been available in Queensland for over a decade, a compounding decline in sales forced the Queensland Government to respond with a new legislation to curb this downturn and ensure E10 made up at least 30% of petrol available for sale in the state, from January 2017.

To coincide with this legislative change, DEWS engaged Ogilvy Australia to develop a campaign to present the positive side to E10 and ultimately encourage consumer adoption.

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Objectives

There were two overarching campaign objectives:

  1. Motivate Queensland drivers to consider and select E10 as their preferred fuel choice (including, from a digital perspective 500,000 completed checks using the E10 compatibility checker digital experience), and
  2. develop a clear understanding of the unique attributes and benefits of E10 with reliable and accessible information.

 

Target audience

Using a segmentation study of the Queensland petrol buying population, the primary target audience was identified as the 1.7 million Queensland motorists who are ‘everyday’ consumers of regular unleaded petrol. A secondary audience came from the 200,000 motorists who had upgraded from unleaded to a ‘premium’ fuel based on the perceived benefits.

Qualitative and quantitative research found that the habitual nature of purchasing fuel had lowered awareness, understanding and consideration of E10. More worryingly, pockets of the motoring population believed E10 to be damaging, inefficient and incongruous with their car. Ultimately, the campaign would need to challenge all of these misconceptions.

Strategy

Inspired by the fact that regular unleaded users could be convinced to switch fuel (as evidenced by the rise of premium unleaded), we needed to prime motorists by offsetting the frankly inadequate understanding of E10 with a digital experience that would challenge their outdated misconceptions.

Based on the stages of behaviour change from pre-contemplation to actual behaviour change, the campaign would need to work in two key phases.

Phase one: reframing E10

The first part of the strategy was developed on the product insight that fuel formulas had evolved and car manufacturers now design engines to be compatible with blended fuels like E10.

The creative idea, therefore, was to simply address these developments and provoke consumer reappraisal with the campaign title ‘A lot can change in ten years’ with a specific emphasis on how E10 was in fact now ‘OK’.

We also knew the ad campaign alone would not be able to shift the attitude or behaviour change required. In addition, it would need to draw our target audience into an active, personalised and two-way experience in the digital space.

Phase two: nudging to consider

The campaign also challenged Queenslanders to reassess E10 by asking them to consider their own car in the context of fuel and engine evolution through a mobile-first digital experience, where a sophisticated car registration checker would allow a user to establish a car’s compatibility with the fuel.

Execution

Driving users online was a comprehensive through-the-line campaign featuring V8 Supercar champion Mark Winterbottom, in which he implores Queensland motorists to think about how fuel formulas as well as car engines have both advanced.

Featured in every facet of the campaign was the insistence that Queensland motorists should grab their phones and search the campaign catchcry ‘E10 OK’.

The idea was to have motorists land on a user-friendly site to establish if their car was E10 compatible. This exercise would demonstrate that most cars are now E10 compatible and encourage motorists to reconsider it as a fuel alternative. Early research had highlighted that customers were open to an online compatibility check to confirm their vehicle was E10 OK. Using a car’s registration details was ideal to make it simple for the customer.

Knowing the digital experience would be the final conversion point, much thought, design and tech smarts had to go in to creating a highly intuitive web experience.

Placing the mainly apathetic user at the centre of the experience, the campaign website hid the complex logic to calculate compatibility behind a very simple user interface. The mobile first site allowed a user to simply enter their car registration to instantly reveal their car make and model, its E10 compatibility (straight from the manufacturer’s manual) and, importantly, the petrol stations close by selling E10.

To do this, three datasets were brought together via APIs (application programming interface) and data files, to first get vehicle details, then check the compatibility of the vehicle and finally point towards the nearest petrol station selling E10.

Matching the vehicle details across three datasets, often with data integrity issues, was a significant challenge. Despite a very tight timeline, extensive testing was completed with thousands of registrations to decrease the chance of users receiving a false negative response. In addition, results were monitored closely after launch and the checker logic adjusted as needed.

To avoid bounce rate and increase conversions among the audience, the website build was relentlessly optimised, particularly in speed and performance. Any lag would lose the user and, with many users anticipated to be on mobile devices, the solution needed to be entirely responsive. With advertising targeted at mobile users, the website uses a device’s location services to target E10 location content to users.

The digital experience was further embellished with useful videos, fast facts about E10 and an assortment of other carefully curated, purposefully limited resources.

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Results

The two-pronged approach to the campaign has been successful in reframing E10 and using a simple digital experience to nudge motorists towards considering the fuel by having them re-evaluate it in the context of their own car.

The campaign has achieved exactly what it set out to achieve – Queenslanders reaching en masse for their smartphones and taking a quick look to see if their car is ‘E10 OK’. This has reframed the fuel and placed it back on the radar of motorists with a smart yet simplistic digital experience.

A mere six months into the 12-month campaign, the campaign tracking report indicated that half of the Queensland population had seen the E10 campaign, delivering remarkable awareness with unprompted awareness sitting at 52%, and prompted at 94%.

The digital face of the campaign has also enjoyed huge success with more than 1.3 million YouTube video views, over 1.2 million unique visitors to the E10 website and a staggering 570,000 car registration checks already logged, versus a target of 500,000 with two months still to go. The efforts to make the UI (user interface) clean and easy to use have been incredibly successful, with an 85% conversion rate (website visitors who complete a compatibility check).

Most important of all, the campaign has already met its overarching objectives.

It increased consideration to use E10 by 20%, increased understanding and decreased the perception that E10 is bad for vehicles.

The campaign also recently won an AMY Award, for Digitally Led Marketing Campaigns (Government and NFP [not for profit] sub category).

 

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