Online campaign builds loyalty


Based on the fun principle of “pimping your ride’ by customising your car and adding personalised designs to its paintwork to change the look and to create the ultimate ride, BP’s successful Ultimate Ride online campaign is now in its second year.

To date the campaign has engaged with thousands of consumers in a business to consumer direct “conversation’ over a six month period. The revamped BP Ultimate Ride II continues to create BP brand adorers who say they remain true to one brand of fuel. 

BP Ultimate Ride is a multi-player online game which allows you to modify and customise your virtual ride; race against others online, judge others’ cars and so on in order to get closer to winning the ultimate prize – a R500 000 one-of-a-kind modified Volkswagen GTI.

Says Tristao Abro, BP’s Brand and Insights Manager: “The campaign is an ideal vehicle through which to connect with consumers in a fun and engaging way over a number of months.

“It is specifically aimed at a niche group with an interest in cars – whom we think might be more interested in fuels and performance – and whom we believe are extremely influential and are more likely to pay attention to our products and our fuels messages.  

“Social network integration has also been seamlessly built-in. As players modify their cars, they are able to share their creations with friends and family, as well as the BP Ultimate Ride community’, says Abro.

With a relatively conservative budget, the pilot campaign devised by Lange Strategic Communications, kicked off in late 2009 and generated a massive cult following. Tens of thousands of hard core motoring fanatics competed to win a R600 000 souped-up Volkswagen Scirocco, which was handed over to the winner at last year’s Extreme Auto Show in Johannesburg.

Updating an online BP Ultimate logbook to clock mileage was integral to the campaign and included various educational elements which needed to be unlocked in order to gain StreetCred – the virtual currency needed to upgrade an entrant’s car and progress in the game.

The six-month campaign was also extended to forecourts where clues and codes had to be logged in order to gain additional transactional ability. And with every BP Express purchase more “virtual money’ or StreetCred could be earned which increased feet in store for BP and allowed consumers to habitually engage with the brand and its products over a lengthy period, thereby building loyalty.

Abro notes, “A few months after announcing the winner, we were inundated with calls and emails from BP Ultimate Ride players begging us for a second round. Shop and fuel sales volumes had shown a significant increase at participating forecourts, which built a strong case for a second round.

“We’ve revved up the 2010 campaign to a whole new world of fantasy car-modifying (or “modding’) and auto-show bragging. Participants again enter online and will love playing this version as they work their way up the “modding rungs’, from novice to professional, while competing for the chance to win the R500k GTI, which has been modified by the best tuning crews in the country – making it hot property for our niche group of car-lovers.

“Partnering with Speed & Sound magazine – SA’s top car modification magazine – has also given us access to thousands of car-modding enthusiasts who has joined the BP Ultimate Ride phenomenon.

“There are 250 prizes up for grabs along the way, for all players no matter their rung or accumulated value. These include very powerful BP sponsored racing experiences with the BP Volkswagen Rally Racing team, Forza Ferrari hot laps and BMW driving experiences, amongst others. 

“Since every player is issued with a standard Volkswagen GTI at sign-up, the best way to take pole position is for them to start spending StreetCred on modifying their ride and entering the creation into auto-shows.

“This split-category format is flexible enough to let players compete in a way that suits them, since auto-enthusiasts lean towards different aspects of the experience. Of course, the more time and effort players put into the game, the more experience they’ll gain. While every player begins at novice level, there’s room to move through the three remaining classes of amateur, professional and expert. As achievements are ticked off and challenges are met, exclusive content and upgrade options are unlocked, which is an essential part of creating an addictive online gaming experience’, says Abro.

Since the 2010 sequel was launched in late November, the car-enthusiast community has already dived straight into their virtual garages with thousands of registrations after the first month.

To view BP’s Ultimate Ride campaign go to


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