Ogilvy Gives Shell Gas a New ‘Life’

DALLAS-Ogilvy & Mather in Houston is launching a repositioning campaign for Shell Oil Products Co. that is being touted as one of the client’s largest ad efforts to date.
Chuck Shepherd, general manager of Shell retail programs, said spending for the five-spot series will approach $30 million through the end of the year. “This is our largest single campaign since the Shell Answer Man in the late ’70s,” he said.
Created with help from George Lucas’ Industrial Light & Magic Studio, the 30- and 45-second commercials show consumers overcoming obstacles with Shell’s assistance.
The campaign abandons the long-running tag, “The world’s best selling gasoline,” in favor of a new line, “Moving at the speed of life.”
Shepherd said the spots are an outgrowth of consumer research going back to the fall of 1995.
The first commercial in the series broke last Friday. Additional versions will appear on spot network and cable through December. Sixty- and 30-second radio spots support, with limited print.
John Perry, O&M senior partner and management supervisor, said the spots differ from previous executions, which focused more on Shell’s products. “I think [ads that focus on needs of consumers] are a trend in all areas of retailing. The whole issue of time-poverty is something the new campaign taps into.”
In each spot, drivers meet with problems on the road (a traffic jam, construction, no parking space) that disappear when a yellow button pops up in their cars. The quick resolution mirrors the trouble-free service the drivers get when they are transported to a Shell station.
Perry said 19 different variables will be plugged into the commercials to address improvements made at Shell stations in different test markets. Among the changes: longer hoses that make it possible to pump gas regardless of how a car is parked.
The spots also promote Shell’s MasterCard and its pay-at-the-pump feature.