Shell has consolidated its pounds 60m European advertising account
in J Walter Thompson as the Anglo-Dutch oil giant prepares to revamp its
image across Europe.
JWT’s appointment follows a three-month review involving Shell’s other
roster agencies, Publicis and Ogilvy & Mather, and has forced the
Berkeley Square agency to drop Esso’s pounds 11m account in the UK.
JWT worked closely with Esso on Price Watch - the campaign that kicked
off the petrol price wars a year ago.
A new European advertising campaign is expected to break during the year
although, as the agencies were not asked for a creative pitch, JWT has
yet to decide on the new strategy.
An important consideration, however, is likely to be the need to improve
Shell’s poor environmental and human rights image.
This hit rock bottom last year when it was criticised over its attitude
toward the writer Ken Saro-Wiwa’s execution by the Nigerian government
after he protested over the company’s oil exploration in his tribal
A campaign calling on consumers to boycott Shell stations was launched
The exact dates on which JWT will start to work on the business vary
from country to country, but the agency is expected to be in full
control by the end of this year.
Esso was unable to comment as Marketing went to press but it is expected
to put its UK account up for pitch and McCann-Erickson is believed to be
keen to step into JWT’s shoes.
Shell’s decision to appoint a pan-European agency comes as the company
struggles to achieve greater economies of scale and to create more
international consistency across its brand.
The decision follows the appointment of CIA Medianetwork last year as
the company’s European media agency.
The company has already harmonised its international agency
relationships, with JWT already handling the firm’s Asian business while
Ogilvy & Mather holds the account in Australia, North and South America
and South Africa.