Shell Energizes Focus

The Focus Agency here was hired as agency of record for Shell Energy Services, a new division of Houston-based Shell Oil Co.
Shell Energy this fall will begin competing for consumer and commercial customers, selling electricity and natural gas directly to homes and small businesses.
Client officials could not be reached last week, but Focus chief executive and president Mark Miller confirmed the win. He said ad spending could reach $20 million in 1999.
Miller said the review was launched two months ago and was narrowed to three finalists. The other agencies could not be confirmed at press time. Ogilvy & Mather, Houston, is lead agency for Shell Oil.
Focus’ initial assignment will include a fall campaign in unspecified markets on the East Coast. Miller said TV, radio and newspaper ads would likely be part of the mix.
The agency’s telecom pedigree–it was agency of record for GTE Corp. until last year–earned it an invitation to the review, Miller said. Focus also has an existing relationship with another Shell unit. It was hired earlier this year to handle global advertising for Shell Chemicals in conjunction with sister Omnicom agency Maher Bird Associates in London [Adweek, March 23].
Miller said the shop’s track record of generating new customers for GTE’s long-distance and Internet services was leveraged in the presentation to Shell. “We’ve proven that we know how to do customer acquisition and retention,” he said.
Shell Oil Co. announced the formation of Houston-based Shell Energy Services in March.