Shell is reviewing its entire above-the-line advertising business across Europe, including the UK, and has shortlisted three agencies for the $90m (57m) account.
The three agencies are J Walter Thompson, Ogilvy & Mather and Publicis, which all work on Shell business in various parts of the world.
Shell spends 7m (Register-MEAL) in the UK through O&M.
The review will put JWT London in a difficult position since the agency handles the Esso account in the UK. Esso spends over 11m (Register-MEAL) in this country.
M&C Saatchi will be keen to be included in the pitches – Maurice Saatchi has brought together the members of the Shell smartcard consortium of companies based around Shell’s loyalty scheme.
Shell’s regional management for Europe will decide which agency to appoint.
The petrol retailer market has undergone big changes in Europe over the past three years.
One of the most recent initiatives has been Esso’s Pricewatch, a scheme in which the company has pledged that it will not be beaten on price within a certain distance from its outlets. The scheme, launched in the UK by JWT, has had a considerable impact on the UK market.
Shell is not reviewing its media agency, CIA Medianetwork, at this stage. But it says a media review is likely in the near future.
However, sources close to the business say Shell has been greatly disturbed by the continuing airtime dispute between CIA and ITV sales house Laser (MW November 22).
In a separate move, the six part-ners in the Shell smartcard consor-tium – Shell, Sainsbury’s, Allied Domecq, Ford, Cellnet and Next – have signed up for the second phase of the scheme.
A decision had been expected before Christmas.