Shell Oil to spend $30 mil on new branding effort

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Shell Oil Products Co. is launching one of the biggest ad pushes in its history with a $30 million branding effort.

The spots are Shell's first retail ads since 1995 and its first real branding campaign since its long-running "Shell Answer Man."

Ogilvy & Mather, Houston, created five Hollywood-style action spots, the first of which broke June 27. Loaded with special effects, the drivers in each spot use a "magic button" in their vehicles to overcome traffic and road construction obstacles.


The new tag, "Shell. Moving at the speed of life," heralds the brand strategy of offering relief to harried motorists with fast, convenient service.

In addition to the media budget, production costs were several million dollars, said Chuck Shepherd, general manager of retail programs and product development at Shell. He declined to be more specific.

Production house Industrial Light & Magic used a small remote-control helicopter to film in locations such as the Mojave Desert. In 9Stealth,9 a Swedish Draken fighter plane appears to be dodging city skyscrapers as it refuels a moving car. In another spot called "Toll Booth," a woman in a convertible flies over a crowded toll plaza before gliding into a Shell station. Michael Owens, director of the recent movie "101 Dalmatians," directed that spot.

"Quick and easy are the benefits we want consumers to take away from the campaign," said Mr. Shepherd.

The TV buy is based on the programs Shell's target market views, he said, rather than demographics. The schedule includes national cable, network and spot TV, and national radio.

Print support is modest, the company said.

In 1996, Shell led the gasoline market, capturing a 7.21% share, said Lundberg Survey, Mobil Corp. was second with 6.98% and Amoco Corp. third with 6.89%.


Shell continues to test its Smart Pump, a robotic-armed fuel pump in Sacramento, Calif. In Houston, Shell has a pilot program offering tire-pressure measurement with a device built into the ground that motorists simply drive onto.

In Indianapolis, Shell is using interactive videoscreens so drivers can order non-gas items from fueling islands. And in Indianapolis and Sarasota, Fla., Shell is testing longer gas hoses so drivers can reach their gas tanks on any side of fueling islands.

O&M worked with Lezcano Associates, Miami, to produce Spanish voice-overs for "Toll Booth" and "Stealth" to run in Los Angeles, Miami, Chicago and Houston.

Copyright June 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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