HOUSTON: Shell has invested in a multimillion-dollar marketing campaign to communicate the protective benefits of its nitrogen-enriched gasolines.
When the new fuels debuted March 2009 in all three grades, Shell focused on the fact that the patented gasolines clean up engine “gunk” (carbon deposits). “Since then, we've done some additional research and with what's going on in the economy, we recognized more people are holding onto their vehicles for a lot longer,” said Karen Wildman, Shell brand and communications manager. “The protection aspect came up to the surface a lot more in our research, and so you'll see a slight shift in our positioning from the ‘clean up' message that we had in 2009. That message is still there, but it is no longer the primary one.”
The campaign includes “a huge” PR effort, said Wildman, driven largely by online contests and through entertainment integration. PR AOR Edelman, for instance, helps arrange gasoline giveaways to guests and audience members of TV programs like The Ellen DeGeneres Show and Dr. Phil.
“Not a lot of companies are giving away gasoline these days, and even though it is just a free tank, at the same time it is such a big deal to many consumers out there who are struggling with the economy,” said Wildman. “So we're trying to expand on what we're doing from a general audience standpoint, and take it another step further [with more giveaways].”
Earlier this month, Shell also launched national TV and radio ads. The campaign also includes co-op print, billboards, POP, direct mail, and online banner advertising.