Castrol GTX TV Advert 1984 - Liquid Engineering

Can of Castrol GTX with pool of oil running into a spanner

This has to be one of the most elegant and relaxing adverts of all time, and its very effective simplicity is something that you don't see in ads these days. It is merely a slow stream of oil running down the white line of a can of Castrol GTX, and into a pool at the bottom, which runs neatly into the end of a spanner. 

Now, when you consider there was no decent CGI back in 1984, just how they made the oil run in such a straight line is something that has always intrigued me. The oil also runs over a set of straight steps and curved bumps. I wonder just how many takes it took to perfect this advert?

The mature-sounding male narrator speaks to us in perfect English (with a neutral accent), and has a very gentle, relaxing tone. He tells us in a calm, unhurried manner "It is straight, square, curved, circular, the precise shape of every moving part it clings to, lubricating, cooling and protecting. Oil is too small a word for it. It is Castrol GTX liquid engineering... fit it in your engine".

Simple it may be, but this advert is deceptively clever. The viewer is fixated by the gentle stream of oil and relaxed by the music, therefore, causing him/her to listen to every word the narrator is saying. The message that the oil "clings" to your engine is clear, and you are left with a feeling that you can trust the oil to lubricate your car efficiently, and the maturity of the narrator also gives you a deep sense of trust in the product.

What is the music used in the Castrol GTX advert?

The soothing music used in the 1980s series of Castrol GTX adverts was movement 2 from Gustav Mahler's Symphony No.7 (called "Song of the night" which is also known as "Nachtmusic"), which was penned in 1904-1905. In 2008, the music was remixed by music teacher Mark Taylor for a ringtone competition (which he won) and was released as a single on itunes on 25th August 2008 as "It's Liquid Engineering".

Can you still buy Castrol GTX?

The British oil company originated in 1899 as CC Wakefield & Co., and was founded by Charles Wakefield. In 1960, the company became Castrol Limited, and was renamed Burmah-Castrol in 1960. In 2000, Castrol became a subsidiary of BP, and the company still produces its GTX range of oils today. 

Castrol's main headquarters (The Castrol Technology Centre) is located in Pangbourne, Berkshire, England, UK, and started producing motor oils in 1909, with the red, white and green colour scheme and "Liquid Engineering" slogan. The colours are still used today for the logo and the Castrol UK website colour scheme, although the GTX oil comes in grey and white plastic cans. They do, however, produce a "classic" range of other oils - including XL20W, XL30, XXL40, GP50 and R40 - which comes in metal cans using the three classic colours and vintage fonts.

You can't get better thank a Kwik Fit Fitter advert

Comments