Shell Oil Company's consolidation of its U.S. advertising business with WPP Group's J. Walter Thompson is nearly complete.
The Houston firm re-cently awarded JWT's local office another major piece of its business—the estimated $30 million corporate account. The ac-count was at CNSG in Columbia, S.C., formerly Chernoff/Silver & Associates. There was no review.
JWT already had the bulk of the client's worldwide ad duties outside of North America when it absorbed $60 million in national Shell business from Ogilvy & Mather in late 1999.
JWT currently handles the accounts of the company's lubricants, chemicals, natural gas utility business and Shell Oil Products U.S.
In November 2001, JWT picked up Shell's retail account, which included an assignment to convert 13,000 Texaco stations into Shell outlets.
Sources estimate the agency has added $60 million in new Shell business since 1999.
JWT general manager Michael McDonald would only say, "Our business in Houston has grown well in excess of 50 percent over the last two-and-a-half years."
The office's other top clients are the Houston Ford Dealers and the city's Museum of Fine Arts.
"As Shell becomes a significant marketer across all its various levels and constituencies," McDonald said, "there's a much greater need for both Shell and Thompson to be careful about how the communications get staged and integrated across their business units."
JWT's London office handles Shell's global account.
Shell will change its corporate advertising with the shift to JWT. CNSG had provided information to help motorists drive safer; the new effort will be directed at "engaging in a long-term meaningful dialog" with influential people like politicians and academics, McDonald said.
The 2003 effort, tagged "Listening and responding," will focus on "future-oriented" issues like Shell's commitment to renewable energy and alternative fuels, he said.
JWT recently completed market tests of the upcoming campaign in New Orleans and Seattle.