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The play’s the thing


Marketing: The play’s the thing

31 May 1984


People love to play games, and, as Shell’s Make Money promotion shows, they’ll flock to the point of sale to take part. By George Pitcher

It is appropriate that the American term for promotions like the much vaunted and widely imitated Shell Make Money campaign, aimed specifically at getting customers to the point of sale, should be ‘traffic building’. The amount of extra traffic built at Shell stations at the expense of its less imaginative rivals has, most observers believe, made the £2m investment in the promotion look like money well spent.

Such can be the power of the game card. Nevertheless, it should not be forgotten that this technique of sales promotion has been around for some time – Shell first used it in the 60s.

Innovation, however, is only part of the story. Shell’s Make Money campaign, for instance, is an example of sticking to a basic idea that works, though the point must be made that there were a large number of sophisticated new developments.

The promotion, run by Don Marketing, gave the lie to the well-worn theory that the distress-purchase nature of petrol buying means that location and price are the critical sales factors.

‘Panic measure’

‘We proved that simply isn’t true,’ says Don Marketing’s managing director, John Chambers. ‘But the way some of the major companies dropped their prices as a result of the Shell promotion can only be described as a panic measure – an emotional reaction that could do no-one any good,’ he says. ‘The cost of a price cut is horrendous compared with that of a well-run promotion – maybe ten times as much, The more creative promotions mean that market share can fluctuate without resort to price cutting.’

Photo caption: Make Money: Old idea, new sophistication

Link to Original Article containing complete text with photograph

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