OPINION: Marketing E15 with Unleaded 88

By Mike O’Brien, vice president of market development at Growth Energy | March 05, 2019

Last year, Growth Energy embarked on a mission to understand consumer sentiment around E15 and worked hand-in-hand with leading fuel retailers, including Sheetz, Kwik Trip, Protec Fuels, Kum & Go, Minnoco, and Family Express, around a simple goal: help them sell more E15. With that goal in mind, Growth Energy established the best practices to optimize sales of E15 fuel.

E15, like any consumer product, needed a cohesive marketing strategy, and after extensive consumer research and in-market testing, Growth Energy and Prime the Pump retail partners embraced a new identity for E15 at the pump—Unleaded 88. Unifying the identity of E15 under Unleaded 88 provides a consistent and recognizable fuel brand. To help retailers take full advantage of the lessons learned, Growth Energy has a dedicated hub for marketing Unleaded 88, full with a brand guideline and consumer resources.

Prior to our work, E15 had many different names from retailer to retailer and didn’t clearly communicate what consumers are looking for when purchasing fuel. When we went to find out directly from consumers on how to market E15, they told us to treat it like any other fuel at the pump. As a result of this new consumer feedback, Unleaded 88 communicates the octane of the fuel in the way consumers are used to seeing it. And because E15 burns cleaner than regular gasoline, we found it was important to emphasize the fuel’s engine smart and earth kind attributes.

Unleaded 88 has made its debut across the country and will be the consistent labeling at more than 90 percent of today’s E15 stations. Drivers will be able to find Unleaded 88 labeled pumps at supporting retail locations across the nation, whether they’re filling up at a station in Minnesota or Pennsylvania.