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Convenience Store Decisions: Shell Promotes Fuel Blends

By CSD Staff

New $35 million campaign launched to show the difference between low- and high-grade fuels.

Shell Oil Products US has launched a $35 million integrated marketing campaign to let motorists know that “All Gasolines are not the Same.” The campaign entitled “Shell Passionate Experts” gives consumers a first-hand look at the potential damage that lower-quality gasoline can leave behind on critical engine parts, such as intake valves and fuel injectors.

“We constantly test Shell gasoline against the competition, both in the lab and on the road, to prove that there is a difference in the gasoline you choose,” said Karen Wildman, Shell brand and communications manager. “The results speak for themselves, and we wanted to build a campaign that let consumers see the difference first hand.”

The marketing campaign is built around the results from a variety of Shell tests, including one designed to compare two gasoline products in a single engine under identical conditions.

To help deliver this message, Shell has developed a robust advertising campaign, an experiential marketing tour and customizable, in-market activation programs.

Related information from Wikipedia added by ShellNews.net

Formula Shell

In the post war years Shell was one of the leaders in fuels technology – in particular the development of additive packages designed to enhance the performance of petrol (gasoline) in automobiles. Amongst the new products of the 1950s and 1960s was “Super Shell with ICA” a fuel/additive mix which controlled ignition (ICA stood for Ignition Control Additive). However after the oil price hikes caused by OPEC raising the price of crude oil in the 1970s Shell and other oil companies suspended advertising and marketing programmes and “fuels differentiation” (as this strategy was known) ceased. Shell scientists and technicians continued to carry out research into the subject and by the mid 1980s Shell felt able to introduce a new initiative. A fuel/additive package which was claimed to “significantly improve your car’s performance” was launched in the United Kingdom, Europe and elsewhere from 1985 onwards. It was known as “Formula Shell”.

The initial customer response to Formula Shell was very positive and drivers claimed to notice a genuine improvement in their car’s performance. Shell’s sales responded significantly in all markets where the new brand was introduced. However within a few months in some countries reports began to appear of problems with a small number of cars running on Formula Shell. There were reports of damaged engines and even of cars having to be taken off the road because of mechanical defects. One particular example was of a police force in Scotland which suffered damage to many of the cars in their fleet. This was highly publicised in the British media.

Shell’s initial response to these problems was denial. They claimed that the Formula Shell product had been extensively tested and denied that there could be any problem. However as reports began to come in from around the world Shell started to take the matter more seriously and conduct their own laboratory experiments into the problem. Eventually Shell was forced to acknowledge that in a small number of instances with particular cars running on leaded petrol one of the components of the product (known as the “Spark Aider”) could cause problems. Formula Shell was withdrawn in the United Kingdom and some other markets – although the brand continued to be sold (without the Spark Aider) elsewhere. Compensation was paid to those car owners whose cars had been damaged by the product. An internal report criticised Shell’s management for its slow response to the problem, its initial denials that there had been a problem at all and for other aspects of the management of the affair which was seen to have damaged Shells’ reputation for technical excellence.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_Dutch_Shell_Environmental_and_reputational_issues#Formula_Shell

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