Shell drive to boost staff morale

Royal Dutch Shell is launching its biggest internal communications campaign to date among its UK retail employees to rebuild confidence a year after international condemnation of its role in Nigeria.

Advertising group WPP, the holding company for J Walter Thompson and Ogilvy & Mather, along with M&C Saatchi and Added Value are pitching for the business. WPP has created a “virtual agency” called Banner McBride staffed by personnel from other WPP companies including O&M, design company Sampson Tyrell, PR company Hill & Knowlton and facilities house Metro Video.

The task is understood to be one of the biggest internal communications exercises ever undertaken by a company and could involve the development of new uniforms, an internal magazine and employee incentive programmes. The programme is likely to extend from senior Shell management down to forecourt staff.

O&M is Shell’s agency of record in the UK. M&C’s work with Shell is closely linked to Maurice Saatchi and his pivotal importance to the Smart Card consortium – which includes Sainsbury’s, Cellnet, Ford, Next, Allied Domecq and Shell.

The members of the Smart Card consortium presented their findings to a working party on Tuesday and unanimously agreed to take it to the next stage of developing loyalty programmes.

Shell has been subject to boycotts and legal threats over the Brent Spar oil platform, after it announced plans to sink the platform in the North Sea. It also received widespread condemnation for its involvement in the environmental destruction of the Ogoni lands in southern Nigeria.

The Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People is calling for a boycott of Shell until more of its oil profits go to local people in southern Nigeria, while the Body Shop is running a worldwide campaign for the Ogoni people to mark the first anniversary of the execution of Ogoni activist Ken Saro-Wiwa.

Last year, Shell underwent a major restructure which included cutting 30 per cent of its 4,000 staff.

Shell has also been linked to a takeover of British Gas this week.

No one at Shell was available for comment.

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