‘Waves of Change’ Hit Texas

The effort J. Walter Thompson began last November to rebrand roughly 13,000 Texaco gas stations into Shell Oil Company outlets has rolled into Texas.

Shell and its affiliates acquired certain Texaco assets after Chevron merged with Texaco last year.

The conversion process and its complementary marketing push, which is being conducted on a market-to-market basis, began in Oklahoma City in May and should be completed by June 2004. Conversions began in Dallas earlier this month and will reach other Texas markets by year’s end. More than 500 stations in the state are expected to be converted, the client said.

JWT’s Houston office and the local client developed 204 marketing plans for the various markets.

The WPP Group shop initiates the process in each new market by reaching out to Texaco customers with incentives to visit Shell stations, many of which were upgraded. “The loyal Texaco customer said we’ll give you a shot, but the experience has to be there,” said JWT general manager Michael McDonald.

JWT next communicates with the stations before re-leasing mass-market awareness ads, McDonald said.

Every market has a pre-conversion, conversion and post-conversion ad component. The scope for each is determined by the strength of the brands in the area. There are 12 15-second TV spots that can be paired and run back-to-back in the first two stages of the process. The work can also target the local audience.

Each spot consists of voiceover narration and onscreen copy displayed on an ocean background that is framed by Shell’s signature yellow. The “Waves of change” tagline, a visual of a rolling wave and the Shell logo close each ad.

In the pre-conversion stage, JWT is using TV and other media to raise brand awareness. As stations begin the week-long conversion, ads incorporate more specific messaging in terms of fuel quality and the convenience of add-ed locations.

In the post-conversion stage, JWT uses point-of-purchase materials with local field messages. The complete campaign is set to run for more than three months in Dallas.

In many major markets, the campaign runs simultaneously with national ads that spotlight Shell’s reformulated fuels.

Shell has said it is spending $650 million on the conversions, which includes marketing costs.