In 2006, gas prices reached new highs and consumers began using smartphone apps to find the lowest prices in town. BP had to ask themselves, “What’s the future of premium-grade gasoline in an increasingly price-driven market?” The energy provider took action, partnering with ?What If! to better serve the needs of today’s drivers.
Together, we identified a key opportunity. While competitive fuel brands pushed function and power, BP had the power to tap into drivers’ emotional connections with their vehicles. To these drivers, their car was a living being, and not just a transportation tool. Inspired by the idea that proper “feeding” of today’s complex cars could keep them healthy just as vitamin supplements keep people healthy, BP’s R&D team created cleaning additives that would help “keep your engine younger for longer” – a solution we called “Invigorate.”
After a series of successful market pilots, BP introduced “Invigorate” across all three grades of gasoline in all 10,000 of its U.S. stations. As BP reports, “Success was almost immediate, with sales of BP gasoline outperforming the rest of the industry by 2 percent and consumer brand ratings increasing significantly in terms of perception of product quality and value for money.” It is still going strong today, with the impact of this brand and product strategy estimated in the multiple billion-dollar range. Now that is some fountain of youth.