Ogilvy Resigns Shell

Ogilvy & Mather has resigned the Shell Oil Co. account for North America and will close its 60-person Houston office as a result, officials said last week.
Joe Kilgore, senior partner and executive creative director of O&M Houston, blamed the closure on a shift in spending to the client’s global agency, J. Walter Thompson.
“We just felt it was in our best interest to resign the account and open possibilities for us in the oil category on a worldwide basis,” Kilgore said. “Shell has been the largest and the anchor account. If we weren’t going to have the income from Shell, it wasn’t feasible to support an Ogilvy office [in Houston].”
The agency will also resign its other local accounts, leaving clients such as Randall’s Food Markets, Dynegy and the Houston Museum
of Fine Arts up for grabs.
O&M’s Shell-related assignments amounted to $40 million in 1998, said Kilgore, “[but] it’s been quite different this year.” The agency produced work for Equiva Services Co., Equilon Lubricants Co., Shell Oil Co., Shell Services International, Shell Capital and Shell Integrated Services.
O&M has worked with Shell since 1960. Since 1998, however, J. Walter Thompson has been Shell’s agency of record in all countries except the U.S. and Venezuela.
Both O&M and JWT are owned by WPP Group, London. Houston employees will be offered positions within the parent’s network.
“Today almost all advertising on a large scale is becoming global,” said Kilgore. “We think Shell probably wants a global agency, and O&M wants a global account.” K