Although Petrobras is still the sole producer of gasoline and diesel oil, price controls have been lifted and independent vendors are now allowed to add their own ingredients to the monoply's basic products. Marketplace runners-up such as Shell, Esso, Atlantic, Texaco and the only Brazilian owned company, Ipiranga, are in a race to carve out a chunk of the 5-billion-liter market.
For instance, Esso's advertising, created by J. Walter Thompson, encourages drivers to pay special attention to the quality of gasoline they put in their cars. Shell is advertising its Formula Shell with a soft-sell campaign created by its longtime agency, Standard Ogilvy. The last time the brand advertised here was in 1973.
Gas station owners estimate that premium brands already account for more than 50% of higher-income residential sales.
Sensing the market gains by its international competitors, Petrobras, which all but stopped advertising since the political scandals that resulted in the impeachment of president Fernando Collow--has just awarded its $18-million-plus budget to four Rio agencies: Contemporanea, DPZ, Caio Domingues and Denison. It also just launched its own line of premium brands of gasoline and alcohol.
Texaco and Atlantic-Arco have recently changed agencies in favor of local hot shops DM-9 and W/Brasil, respectively.
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)