Late night shopping is big business, worth pounds 2.8 billion
annually to forecourt stores alone. Every two seconds someone buys a
sandwich from one of Select’s (the Shell UK forecourt brand) 850 shops.
Biss Lancaster, working with Shell’s press office, ran a campaign based
on the 24-hour society, to draw even more twilight shoppers to Shell
Using three key messages - convenience, 24-hour access and range of
goods - to win media coverage for Shell, promote the Shell Select brand
as a convenience retailer and support the advertising message ’making
time for you’.
The campaign started with a survey into people’s shopping habits, the
role of the petrol station in society and attitudes to Shell Select. Two
telephone surveys, each made up of 1,000 people, and 400 face-to-face
interviews at Shell forecourts pointed to what Biss Lancaster dubbed a
Findings that 17 million late-night shoppers buy snacks, soft drinks,
condoms and cigarettes went into a hard-hitting report. Dr David Lewis,
an international psychologist, threw academic clout behind the findings
with a viewpoint on nocturnal shopping and 24-hour living.
A national press release was offered highlighting the findings of the
report. Six regional variations were also offered, extracting regional
data from the survey.
As well as the ’hard-facts’ report, a ’What type of Night Owl Shopper
are you?’ questionnaire was released for the consumer media.
The five-strong Biss Lancaster team, headed by managing director Isabel
Greenwood, homed in on more than 800 multimedia targets. A steady drip
feed of results was meant to create an unstoppable media momentum for
the launch of the survey in November.
Biss Lancaster and Shell were keen to round off the launch with a
’Midnight Survival’ packs of Select goods such as chocolate, coffee and
tin mugs were sent to major national and regional radio DJs such as Zoe
Ball of Radio 1.
The campaign hit the headlines with almost every national broadsheet
running stories leading on key findings of the survey. Around 60
regional newspapers including London Evening Standard, the Yorkshire
Post and the Scotsman followed suit. Around 16 business titles also ran
Broadcast coverage also appeared on television stations including BBC 1
and 2, Channel 5 and Edinburgh Live TV. BBC national and regional radio
covered the stories and many followed the findings with their own vox
Around 35 per cent of the pounds 65, 000 budget went on planning, 55 per
cent on implementation and ten per cent on evaluation.
This was a hardworking PR campaign, and one which certainly achieved its
aim of gaining media coverage for Shell. It was also successful in
promoting the Select brand as a convenience retailer, with most stories
mentioning the brand and the fact that Shell operates 24-hour service
Client: Shell UK
PR Team: Biss Lancaster
Campaign: Shell Select Survey and 24-Hour Society report
Timescale: August 1997 to December 1997
Cost: pounds 65,000