Countrywide for Esso project PR

Esso Retail, the UK fuel retail division which oversees oil giant Exxon’s forecourts, has appointed Countrywide Porter Novelli to provide ongoing PR support.

Esso Retail, the UK fuel retail division which oversees oil giant

Exxon’s forecourts, has appointed Countrywide Porter Novelli to provide

ongoing PR support.



Countrywide, which has worked for Esso Retail on a six-month project

following a competitive pitch in December, has now been confirmed as

Esso Retail’s ongoing project agency.



The agency will conduct a trade and consumer PR campaign supporting

Esso’s marketing initiatives. Countrywide will also provide issues

management support. The account will be led by senior consultant Jacky

Freer.



Fiona Joyce, managing director of Countrywide Porter Novelli, said: ’We

are delighted to have such a prestigious account under our wing. With

the forecourt retail sector in a constant state of evolution we expect

to be kept very busy.’



Esso is the UK’s leading petrol forecourt operation, with over 1,800

service stations in rural, high street and motorway sites

nationwide.



Over the past year, it has come under increasing competition from

Shell’s Select brand of forecourt shops. Last year Shell acquired Gulf

Oil’s network of 450 service station shops.



Esso employs Scope Ketchum, a sister agency to Countrywide in the

Omnicom Group, to handle PR for the company’s Corporate Community

Involvement Programme. This includes its contribution to the Millennium

campaign to encourage the public to grow trees.



Esso Retail currently operates a low cost guarantee scheme, known as

Pricewatch, which was launched two and half years ago as a replacement

for the tiger tokens loyalty scheme. Pricewatch promises to match the

lowest petrol price of any petrol retailer within a one-mile radius and

any supermarket within three miles.



Esso Retail is a division of Texas-based Exxon Corporation which

operates or markets products in more than 100 countries and each day

sells about 65 million gallons of motor fuel to more than eight million

drivers. In 1997, the company registered revenue of pounds 86 billion,

up 2 per cent on 1996. Its net income in 1997 was pounds 5,288 million,

up 12.6 per cent on 1996.



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