Shell ready to take up consumer champion role

Shell is looking to boost confidence in the embattled oil industry by focusing on fuel efficiency and positioning the company as a consumer champion in its latest marketing push.

The brand wants to disassociate itself from the aftermath of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, which has affected rival BP badly and threatens to taint other oil companies by association.

Shell will promote the launch of its new regular fuels – Shell FuelSave Unleaded and Shell FuelSave Diesel – in its biggest marketing campaign for 10 years.

Shell UK Retail marketing director David Wood says: “The campaign is built around a single customer benefit common to both fuels: a saving of up to one litre per tank at no extra cost. This is important when the industry is shrouded in controversy and we believe it is a significant milestone for the fuels industry.

“We considered delaying the launch but I believe this is what customers expect from fuel companies at a time when frugality is essential.”
The ads have been created by JWT and activity will run across TV, outdoor, radio, print and online. A PR campaign is fronted by cricketer Andrew Flintoff.

Green groups have criticised Shell’s approach to advertising in the past. But Martin Smitthy, president of consultancy Clearcut, says consumers will be encouraged by Shell’s new approach.

Smitthy says: “By focusing on cost efficiency rather than changing the world Shell could find some success with this marketing approach.

Success relies on the brand’s claims being proven by drivers. If they are not, it will be seen to be cynical and downright dishonest again.”

In a recent report for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, BP and Shell were placed second and ninth respectively in a list of brands making high levels of green claims.

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