Shell shocks with a total agency review

Shell International is understood to be conducting a major review of its PR agencies.

Shell International is understood to be conducting a major review

of its PR agencies.

The aim is to establish a roster of possibly no more than two or three

agencies for PR work, certainly in Europe and possibly worldwide.

The company, which refused to comment on the matter, is believed to have

talked to five international PR firms over the last few months. These

are thought to be: Burson-Marsteller, Hill and Knowlton, Shandwick, Euro

RSCG and Fleishman-Hillard.

The move is part of a wide-ranging review of the company’s


That process led the company to consolidate its pounds 60 million

European advertising account into one agency, J Walter Thompson, earlier

this month.

In terms of corporate PR and public affairs, Shell International has

used a number of agencies on different projects including Chelgate - on

Nigeria - ’public affairs management’ firm Bruce Norton Wade and Hill

and Knowlton.

Shandwick has also worked with Shell since last May, providing corporate

PR and public affairs advice. Shandwick Interactive, the agency’s

digital technology division, was given a major project last


Each of the national companies also has its own agencies including Biss

Lancaster and Charles Barker in the UK.

In the meantime Shell International has been building a substantial

in-house team. It hired no less than four senior executives - Tom

Henderson, Mike Hogan, Andrew Whyte and Michael McGarry - over a few

weeks last July.

The company also has a new branding and marketing communications

director, Raoul Pinnell, who was hired last month to take charge of

company image in all its international markets except the US.

One source suggested the company was now trying to take the opportunity

to ’weed out some of the plethora of consultancies’ it has used in the

past. And, while the decentralised structure makes it highly unlikely

that International would seek to impose one PR firm on its national

companies, roster agencies might benefit from a ’preferred supplier’


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