Gunk Automotive

Advertising Campaign

For decades, GUNK engine cleaner was used by mechanics to keep engines shiny and automobiles running smoothly. To help bring new life to the steadily declining category of engine cleaning, we created a highly-targeted campaign to make its product line relevant to a new generation without alienating older ones.


  • Because today's new cars are more reliable, efficient, and run clean, people don’t get under the hood and work on their engines like they used to.
  • GUNK was well known to older generations who liked to spend a Saturday tinkering under the hood, but lacked brand awareness with younger DIYers.
  • Although GUNK offers a broad product assortment of automotive cleaning products, consumers associate the brand with a single product: engine degreaser.


To diversify and expand beyond engine cleaning and degreasing, we needed to leverage GUNK’s legacy of tough, self-reliant, American know-how.

DIY automobile maintenance and repair offers a strong emotional connection between current generations and previous ones.

The average age of vehicles on the road today is increasing (11 years), which means people are starting to spend more money and time taking care of their own cars.


To reach different target audiences in deeper, more relevant ways, by creating a multifaceted campaign centered on the notion of “tough.”


To connect the brand’s past with new customers, we evoked the rugged, quintessentially American milieu of a hard working garage – integrating traditional and digital tactics to tap into the GUNK customer’s passion for all things automotive. The campaign included a new landing page, Facebook sweeps, digital advertising, digital campaigns on and the Car Domain network, as well as pre-roll video and print ads in leading automotive pubs.

In the first month, we generated over 40 million impressions, while Facebook “likes” were up over 969%, and website traffic was up over 130%. The GUNK Tough sweepstakes generated over 30,000 entries.


  • Marketplace and Competition Research
  • Internal Alignment Workshops
  • Brand Strategy & Development
  • Tone and Voice Development
  • Print and Digital Advertising
  • Digital and Social Content Development