Shell Oil Turns to SWG&M For Multicultural Help

Win marks end of yearlong quest for independent shop

Shell Oil Products’ U.S. retail division has enlisted SWG&M Advertising in an effort to ensure that general-market campaigns from J. Walter Thompson resonate with African American and Hispanic consumers.

The move comes as Shell prepares to break ads for its fuels next month. Shell began its first fuel push in 10 years in August with the $25 million “Waves of Change” campaign from WPP Group’s JWT, Houston. JWT is rebranding several thousand Texaco stations for Shell via a range of ads.

SWG&M will tweak JWT’s work or come up with new creative for multicultural markets, said Brooks Herring, manager of brand and strategy for Shell’s retail division.

“We’re not saying these markets aren’t hit by the general-market work,” said SWG&M president and CEO Robert Wingo. “We just have to go into neighborhoods and communities to make sure we create relevant messages.”

For the independent shop, based in El Paso, Texas, with an office in Austin, the win marks the end of a yearlong quest for the Shell business, which it won without a review. “Any opportunity to work with a Fortune 500 company is a marquee-account opportunity for our agency,” Wingo said.

Shell has relied on project work from various multicultural agencies, including SWG&M. In February the shop created a print campaign to recruit minority retail operators, which ultimately led to its hiring, Herring said.

Herring declined comment on billings for the multicultural work. Shell’s retail division spent $30 million in media last year, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR.