Kendall Coming Back with Liquid Titanium (Article)

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782
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Lube Report Wednesday, December 16, 2009 VOLUME 9 ISSUE 50 COP Ups the Ante on Kendall By Lisa Tocci ConocoPhillips Lubricant is placing more of its eggs in the Kendall basket, with a relaunch of the old-line motor oil brand. In addition to being bolstered with Liquid Titanium antiwear agents, the brand is being upholstered in more glamorous packaging, company executives revealed in an interview with Lube Report. They also described a scheme to rapidly boost market penetration by giving all ConocoPhillips marketers access to a slate of premium Kendall offerings. Since Conoco and Phillips Petroleum merged in 2002, "our challenge has been that we have four regional brands -- Conoco, Phillips 66, 76 Lubricants and Kendall -- but no strong national brand for passenger car motor oil," explained Steve Tarbox, director of product management at ConocoPhillips Lubricants. The relaunch of Kendall GT-1 is meant to solve that. In late October, the company began meeting with marketers, distributors and direct national accounts to unveil Kendall GT-1 Motor Oil with Liquid Titanium. Liquid Titanium is an antiwear additive that first debuted last year in the company's heavy-duty engine oils. The additive is based on patented technology from Afton Chemical, and ConocoPhillips has trademarked the name Liquid Titanium for its exclusive use in engine oils. Marshall Cohen, the company's director of brand management, said a freshening of the Kendall brand has been in the works for some time. "It's a strong brand, but has been a quiet one. So now we expect to grow by differentiating Kendall." Step one towards that goal is to give more oomph to the Kendall formulation, using Liquid Titanium additive chemistry to deliver significantly better wear control, Tarbox said. For a 5W-20 grade, the reformulated oil now can demonstrate 75 percent better wear control in the Sequence IIIG engine test, and 85 percent better performance in the Sequence IVA test, versus the old formulation. "We're pretty pleased with these results," Tarbox said. "We already saw big improvements on the heavy-duty oil side, and so we're glad to see it on the PCMO side as well." Tarbox emphasized that the titanium chemistry does not appear to have any deleterious effect on emissions systems. "In fact," he said, "no titanium was measured on the exhaust catalyst after 120,000 miles, even though other lube additive metals are found." In-house tests also suggest that Kendall GT-1 5W-20 engine oil with Liquid Titanium may help boost fuel economy -- although there is not yet conclusive data, Tarbox conceded. It does seem to act as a friction modifier, however, which might help fuel economy. "We're going to soft-pedal that aspect at this time," Tarbox said. "We're doing vehicle tests and spending a lot of money, and maybe in the first quarter we'll have data on that." Meanwhile, the brand is also getting dressed in new packaging, with bottles, cases and labels all getting a fresh look. "The Kendall containers have been taken from black to silver, with the label having strong black capital letters, and a strong call-out to Liquid Titanium," Cohen pointed out. And the Kendall logo itself has been polished up, while keeping the familiar two-finger "V" icon that dates to the 1920s (when it was the first motor oil to offer drain intervals of 2,000 miles, versus the more common 500 to 1,000 miles of those days). Also, Cohen continued, the Kendall website has been restructured to take advantage of internet marketing opportunities. On the web, the marketing effort will include viral marketing, internet search engines and banner ads. Titanium-themed videos have been prepared for consumers to download and share on the web, and may also appear in movie theaters as film trailers, Cohen indicated. Finally, Cohen pointed out, sales tools and kits have been prepared for all channel partners, and B-to-B trade advertisements, trade shows and other marketing efforts are under way. One of the dominant images of the new web and advertising campaign is an animated muscle car with enormous blade-like teeth coming out of its front grille, with the tagline "a different beast altogether." Beyond these formulary and packaging changes, more Kendall products will be available to all ConocoPhillips marketing partners -- even those who do not at present carry the brand. These include Kendall GT-1 full synthetic, high-mileage, racing and other premium oils. "All our marketers will have access to some Kendall with Liquid Titanium, our exclusive differentiator," Tarbox said. "They'll be able to show users how they can prolong the life of their engines, which is an important message for consumers in these recessionary times. "The good news," Tarbox added, "is that we did not change the price at all from us to the marketers; even though we added the Liquid Titanium technology, they'll get it at the same price as Kendall without it." Generally, Kendall gets a slight premium versus the other three brands in ConocoPhillips' stable, due to its program benefits, Marshall Cohen observed. Marketing research found consumers willing to pay more for Kendall with Liquid Titanium -- if it works, he said. The changes to the Kendall brand come at a time ConocoPhillips is making its final approach to ILSAC GF-5, the motor oil upgrade that is scheduled for commercial licensing next fall. When the current category, GF-4, was introduced in 2004, ConocoPhillips took advantage of the change to roll out a line of synthetic-blend engine oils for all four of its brands. This time, the upgrade was looking more complicated, Steve Tarbox said, because the brand quartet also have "accessory grades" such as high-mileage oils, full synthetics, monogrades, racing oils and diesel oils. That would have greatly complicated the upgrade to GF-5. "Now we will wrap all these other into Kendall, and it will be our only line of these accessory grades, and will be available to all our marketers," Tarbox said. "It's a little bit of brand consolidation, and going forward the emphasis will be on Kendall being our primary brand for premium oils. "If not for increasing segmentation in the engine oil market, we may not have touched consolidation," Tarbox went on. "With all we have now, you have to question how many brands we can carry for all those products. There's the packaging, the SKUs, etc." Starting in January, Kendall GT-1 with Liquid Titanium will launch as a GF-4 quality product, and will roll up to GF-5 when licensing begins. As for the possibility of Kendall adding a product that meets General Motors' proprietary Dexos licensing requirements, also expected to launch next fall, Tarbox commented, "We're still looking at that, and at the range of chemistries that are out there for Dexos. We know that we'll need a Dexos product in our lineup, but it may not be this one." The new Kendall became available early this month, and "our plans are to hit the market hard in January," vowed Cohen. "And as we roll into 2010, we'll keep the fire going." Published by LNG Publishing Co., Inc. Copyright © 2009 LNG Publishing Co.
 
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8,711
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Nothern USA
''On the web, the marketing effort will include viral marketing, internet search engines and banner ads. Titanium-themed videos have been prepared for consumers to download and share on the web, and may also appear in movie theaters as film trailers, Cohen indicated.'' Wonder if that means some new members will pop up here flogging it? I looked around here, but didn't find anybody stocking the full synthetic. I still have Pennzoil YB in my car. If it is available here when I am ready to switch, I may try it. I won't be paying more than I can get M1 for.
 
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2,329
Location
Lexington, KY
I concur that ConocoPhillips could use a strong national brand for off-the-shelf engine oils. TropArtic seems to come across as a bargain brand at dollar stores. Motorcraft looks more like Ford than an oil company product. Bring on Kendall! I haven't seen that brand name on a bottle for nearly 20 years. And may the price be competitive, of course. wink
 
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8,711
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Nothern USA
I found 3-4 places including AZ that stocked the Kendall blend, but no full syn here. Haven't paid much attention to the dollar stores. Doubt they are the place to look for a full syn.
 
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325
Location
Los Angeles
Originally Posted By: labman
Wonder if that means some new members will pop up here flogging it?
" I have a 1000hp Mustang I use as a daily driver plus race on the weekends. I can tell Kendall w/LT works great,no problems" duh
 
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36,509
Location
ME
Of course titanium wasn't found on the catco; There's an incredibly miniscule amount if any. Last got GT-1 at Big Lots for $1.59/qt.
 
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4,952
Location
Kansas
Originally Posted By: jeffie
Orscheln Farm And Home carry the Trop Artic brand, all weights at a decent price.
Yea, I've stocked up on the stuff. About one week out of each month the store has been having the stuff on sale for $1.69/qt. They currently have the Shell for $1.99/qt. Both brands have been doing fine in my vehicles. The last time I saw Kendall in this area on a shelf was back in the early 80s. It just isn't that popular around here, but I guess it could be special ordered.
 

pbm

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8,900
Location
New York
I saw Kendall Full Syn (in the new bottle w/ LT) at Pepboys for 4.99 a quart. If they offered it on sale I give it a try.
 
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5,893
Location
Tn.
it wont b long till maketing starts putting flavor smelling oil on the market, we could have strawberry smelling oil, chocolate, and vanilla, lol,,get me a break...............
 
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18,594
Location
Michigan
Originally Posted By: CourierDriver
it wont b long till maketing starts putting flavor smelling oil on the market, we could have strawberry smelling oil, chocolate, and vanilla, lol,,get me a break...............
Well, now that you mention it...
 
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5,893
Location
Tn.
Unless u plan on keeping ur car or truck for 15 years and r going to run the u know what out of it, there are way to many fine oils out here and of course I have my favorite. PS, but I didnt choose mobil one because of the pretty bottle or some nostalgiac mind set, but I must say I use to do that> Now I read the data on the particular oil I use now and there u have it, read ur oil data, and make a choice. (( dont just buy a pretty bottle of oil )).Ok,that a boy...................
 
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