Shell-Texaco Alliance Bows Dual Campaigns
DETROIT-The Shell-Texaco Al-liance will manifest itself for the first time in the two companies’ consumer marketing. A twin-pronged, $40 million advertising blitz starting June 1 will present the joint marketing entity’s initial attempt at dual-brand management.
Two separate campaigns for the gas station chains target distinctly different consumers types. Shell is positioned as the full-service stop for drivers and Texaco as the home of car-friendly gasoline.
For Houston-based Shell, the new ad push, via Ogilvy & Mather in Houston, will highlight the company’s ability to “listen and respond” to its consumers and make their visits as quick and easy as possible. “Count on Shell to keep you going” is the campaign’s tagline.
Texaco of White Plains, N.Y., will focus on “Get that fifth tank feeling” to encourage drivers to try Clean System 3 gasoline for five tanks to see the improvement in engine performance and also highlight broader service satisfaction. Texaco’s work was developed by BBDO in Houston.
The twin offensives are being overseen by Anthony Gonsalves, general manager of brands management for the Shell-Texaco Alliance and former Procter & Gamble detergent guru. He answers to each company’s chief executive officer.
In 1998 the two companies formed Western and Eastern joint ventures to manage all downstream operations, ranging from the refineries to the gas pump. The exploration and chemical operations of both firms remain separate.
Shell and Texaco share an umbrella joint services group for sales and marketing operations. While the arrangement is a joint venture, not a merger, Gonsalves and his team were given the authority to refresh both brands this summer under the new system.
“You have to run each brand like it’s the only brand you own,” Gonsalves said. “But this arrangement is unique in all my experiences.”
The new Shell spots tout several new or enhanced services amid the Bachman Turner Overdrive lyrics “Let it roll down the highway.” The ads feature sometimes humorous, sometimes disarming testimonial- style requests from fictional customers on how to improve service. In one ad, a young girl asks Shell to make refueling faster so her little brother does not act up in his car seat (Shell promises a three-minute fill-up). In another spot, a man requesting free air is given free water as well. The campaign will employ television, radio, outdoor, point-of-sale and the Internet.
On the Texaco side, new advertising will refocus on performance gasoline and its effect on cars and drivers’ demeanors. The “fifth tank feeling” campaign will use quirky humor to feature customers so distracted by the great performance of their vehicles on Clean System 3 that they fail to notice other dramatic changes around them. Point-of-purchase efforts will include an 18-foot cutout of the slogan with the five stylized as a waving hand.
TV flights for both campaigns will run through this year. The combined companies also will undergo a new retail execution to improve operations at more than 23,600 Texaco- and Shell-branded stations. ƒ