Shell to increase PR efforts for new gasoline launch

HOUSTON: Shell US has announced a $30 million marketing plan to promote the launch of its new Shell V-Power premium grade gasoline.

HOUSTON: Shell US has announced a $30 million marketing plan to promote the launch of its new Shell V-Power premium grade gasoline.

The national campaign will include PR, print, television, radio, and Internet advertising, and other marketing initiatives, such as direct-mail promotions and point-of-purchase displays.

The company is working with its AOR Fleishman-Hillard out of its Dallas office, and with GCI on a contract basis out of the firm's Los Angeles office. Additionally, it's using Manchester, NH-based Gigunda Group, an event-marketing firm, to help with a multi-city promotional tour.

Fleishman will handle planning, strategy, execution, and media relations in conjunction with the in-house PR department, according to Anne Peebles, Shell Oil Products US business communications manager. GCI will aid the launch with PR geared towards automotive enthusiasts, she said.

The new premium gasoline, which cleans engine parts like intake valves and fuel injectors while customers drive their cars, replaces its existing premium grade offering. The company's main message is that their product contains five times the detergent the government requires.

Shell US declined to disclosed how much of the campaign will be spent on PR, but Peebles said that this launch is using much more PR efforts than its previous gasoline launch in 2002.

"In that first campaign, the only thing we did for PR was sent a release over the wire," Peebles said. "We have significantly increased the budget and sent ten different versions of the press release to target specific audiences."

PR is an important component, Peebles said, because many consumers do not differentiate between different types of gasoline.

"We want to get out there to explain to them why they need to look at a gasoline and make a decision, because it does make a difference.

The company hopes to reach out to influencers in the tuner and drifting market. The tuner market, featured in movies such The Fast and the Furious and Biker Boyz, is predominately Gen Y-comprised and involves legal street racing. The drifting community, imported from Japan, involves using a car as a creative outlet, almost like dancing, Peebles said.

The company plans to attend tuner and drifting events and engage in media outreach to the six or seven magazines in the field, including Sport Compact Car, Peebles said.

Additionally, it will target men's, women's and family publications, as well as creating a driving booklet on how to prepare a vehicle for a road trip.

The company hopes to reach out to influencers through product trials and build brand champions among automotive reporters, technical advisers to racing movies, and legal street racers. She points out that the latter group has attracted some interest from large corporate sponsors.

Shell also plans a lot of on-site promotions, including having people take pictures with a Ferrari F-1 car, which they can download onlinee. Individual Shell station sites are empowered to branch out their own PR strategies, as long as they maintain the corporation's general message.

"We're thrilled that they would want to pursue publications, such as gas giveaways, customer appreciation days, and employing greeters," Peebles said.

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