SHELL SURVIVES NAD AD CHALLENGE

Decision Follows Complaint by Rival ChevronTexaco

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A correction has been made in this story. See below for details.

DETROIT (AdAge.com) -- Shell Oil Co. survived a complaint about its gasoline advertising after competitor ChevronTexaco Corp. challenged those ad claims with the National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus.

NAD today announced that Shell provided a "reasonable basis" to substantiate its ad claim that its gasoline reduces engine friction, even though ChevronTexaco presented evidence that its own tests showed no additional non-friction benefits for Shell's gas.

Chevron also complained about Shell's ad claim of "Up to five extra miles per tank." NAD said it decided not to use its resources to investigate that matter after Shell told the panel in writing those ads had already been voluntarily discontinued "for reasons unrelated to the challenge" NAD said "that these representations would not be used in any future advertising."

On the later mileage claim, a Shell spokeswoman said the marketer stopped that 2003 ad campaign because it was done, having run its 13-week course. It ended as planned last September, the same month Chevron filed the complaint.

WPP Group's J. Walter Thompson, Houston, created the U.S. TV, radio and Internet ads.

Shell said in a prepared statement that it "is pleased" that NAD found Shell's "testing bolstered Shell's support for its friction modification claims."

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CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly that Shell agreed to halt ad claims that its gasoline reduces engine friction.

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