Automotive PR: Prestone BRC


Despite being the number one selling brand for automotive products such as coolant, screen wash and antifreeze in the US, Prestone needed to boost its brand name in the UK, where the company was not widely known. As such Smoking Gun was assigned to:

*Drive expert advocacy by focussing on the idea that ‘those in the know use Prestone’, targeting a well-informed audience dubbed ‘Driveway DIYers’

*Hero Prestone Coolant & Screen Wash outside of the traditional winter sales period

*Get the brand into people’s hands via samples delivered direct to the target demographic, proving its quality against competitors

*Meet the KPI of lifting brand awareness by 2%  (via Brand Tracking Study with Research Craft)


Strategy & Plan

In order to satisfy the client, Smoking Gun focussed on building advocacy among the motoring elite. This means concentrating on mechanics, other automotive industry professionals and those who really know their way around a car.

Keeping Prestone’s strapline ‘excels in extremes’ in mind, a partnership with the British Rally Championship was struck, with research revealing a strong correlation between rally goers and the brand’s target market. Sponsorship was finalised for the 2017 series, including TV ad bumpers, branding across all sites in the competition series and first fill status— our client was the only coolant/anti-freeze used by the drivers.

Using this high-visibility positioning, Smoking Gun leveraged publicity. A Prestone BRC micro-site was created, with exclusive content and team profiles alongside product information. Commentator Colin Clark was brought in as the face of the campaign, affording great behind the scenes access and lending a recognisable personality to the brand partnership.


A VR rally simulator gave fans a chance to enter a season-long competition with the hope of winning a ride with one of the BRC’s top teams, with product samples and branded items given away during events.

Using The Autosport International Show we officially launched the Prestone BRC 2017. Smoking Gun worked hard at the event to establish relationships with the competing teams, and learn of newsworthy stories that could be used to secure press. One of which centred on the Ypres stage of the series, which would coincide with the centenary of the Battle of Passchendaele. A British Army team would be competing, and an exclusive deal was agreed with them.

Interview opportunities were secured with high profile drivers and their support teams, which were then offered to large media titles. Pre and post race press releases were also issued, with a pair of influential bloggers invited to attend and cover the final race in real time, ensuring Prestone was tagged in all activity.

Not forgetting in-store opportunities, a special line of Prestone BRC-branded screenwash, anti-freeze and coolant products went on sale in Tesco sites across the UK.


Measurement & Evaluation

We gauged our success on the initial client brief, comparing our results to the expectations and hopes of Prestone.


On behalf of the client we delivered:

*53 individual pieces of coverage producing 117,000 opportunities to see

*Social content reaching 60million people

*2000% increase in Facebook reach, with 25% rise in followers

*261,400 visitors to the BRC microsite, trumping the target of 144,000

*132,000 video views

*504,627 page views

*550,000 Channel 4 audience for live TV reports and an additional 3,184,000 on BBC One North East

*15,500 product samples were given out for free

*Research showed the public’s likelihood to recommend had grown by 35 points, from 1 to 36

*Brand awareness reached its highest ever point in the UK (11%)

*5 of the BRC’s top teams became product partners, using Prestone’s products throughout the championship