ECO-MARATHON EUROPE 2009 for Shell

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ECO-MARATHON EUROPE 2009

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Industry Automotive products, services and accessories
Media Promo & PR, Case study
Released July 2012

Credits & Description

Category: Automotive and Transport
Advertiser: SHELL DEUTSCHLAND OIL
Product/Service: FUEL
Project Leader: Mary B. Walsh (Royal Dutch Shell Group)
Shell Eco-marathon Manager: Barbara Gamalski (Shell Deutschland Oil)
Press Officer: Cornelia Wolver (Shell Deutschland Oil)
Media Relations Manager: Petr Sindler (Shell Deutschland Oil)
Director: Niklas Proksch (Publicis Consultants)
Consultant: Jessica Rusch (Publicis Consultants)
Head of Event: Ilka Sassen (Publicis Hamburg)
Project Manager: Susanne Heinrich (Publicis Hamburg)
Media placement: 45 International TV Crews - News Reports (Germany/international): CNN, CNBC, Bloomberg, ZDF, Sat 1, Pro 7, - 7 May 2009
Media placement: 45 International TV Crews - Science Reports (Germany): Arte, BR, 3sat, N24 Et.al. - 7 May 2009

Summary of the Campaign
The Shell Eco-marathon (SEM) is Europe’s prime energy efficiency competition, offering students from all over Europe a unique platform to develop and test concepts for sustainable mobility in the future. Attracting a diverse crowd of students and young engineers, the SEM functions as a vital international exchange forum where cutting-edge technologies are presented and discussed. The SEM embodies Shell’s strategic commitment to raise efficiency in conventional fuels and to develop alternative fuels. In 2009, the event was for the first time staged in Germany. 2,700 students faced the same challenge: to construct a low-emission vehicle and drive a set distance with a minimum fuel amount and lowest possible emissions. The record: 3,771 kilometres with one litre of fuel. This equals a fuel consumption of 0.026 litres on 100 kilometres. The unique atmosphere of the event, that brought together talented young people from throughout Europe, was conveyed to a pan-European audience via a campaign that kicked off in October 2008, supporting a recruitment phase addressing potential participants from universities across Europe. The campaign peaked at the event itself on 7th-9th May 2009. The immensely successful media surge positioned Shell well in the public discussion on efficient use of natural resources.

The Goal
The Shell Eco-marathon is a project that addresses all relevant groups of Shell‘s European stakeholders, placing the key issue of future sustainable mobility on the agenda: young engineers, media, european and national politicians, industry and Shell employees. Main objective towards students across Europe was to raise enthusiasm to ensure a high number of participants. Media carried the discussion on efficient use of natural resources into the public, thereby transporting Shell’s commitment to broader audiences. Towards stakeholders from politics and industry the goal was to get into a dialogue on sustainable energy, technical solutions and the necessary political framework for a sustainable future mobility.

Results
In 2009 the event was for the first time staged in Germany at the EuroSpeedway Lausitz in the German state of Brandenburg. From the outset, the impressive number of 2,700 participating students from 28 countries starting in 197 teams was achieved. Targeted media relations on the SEM successfully resulted in broad media coverage: More than 170 journalists from all over Europe where on site, including 46 ENG crews. Coverage in Europe amounted to 280 m readers (print media), 162 m viewers (TV broadcasts) and numerous online visits. The media coverage reflected the discussion of future sustainable mobility and technical innovation. The competition was vivid and new records were set: The solar energy car of a French team produced more energy than it consumed on the track, while another French team broke the gasoline record driving 3,771 kilometres with one litre of fuel. Also in the category of roadworthy cars a new record was set – the hydrogen car of a Norwegian team drove 1.246 kilometres with the equivalent of one litre of fuel. The Shell Eco-marathon is a project that addresses all relevant groups of Shell‘s European stakeholders, placing the key issue of future sustainable mobility on the agenda: young engineers, media, European and national politicians, industry and Shell employees. Main objective towards students across Europe was to raise enthusiasm to ensure a high number of participants. Media carried the discussion on efficient use of natural resources into the public, thereby transporting Shell’s commitment to broader audiences. Towards stakeholders from politics and industry the goal was to get into a dialogue on sustainable energy, technical solutions and the necessary political framework for a sustainable future mobility.

Execution
The SEM started with an opening race and a panel discussion on sustainable energy reaching out to stakeholders from industry, science and politics. Politicians from European, federal and state levels visited the teams on site. In the run-up to the SEM, the German teams met the patron of the event, the German research minister Annette Schavan. On the European level, EU Commission president José Manuel Barroso agreed to serve as patron. The Pan-European public relations campaign started in October 2008 addressing potential participants at universities across Europe. December 2008 marked the launch of the broad media relations campaign which used the unique integrative approach by encompassing all information and multimedia materials provided by the participating teams. The resulting media coverage was the only means of announcing the event – no advertising was run. The event itself, on May, 7th-9th, 2009 marked the peak of the campaign.

The Situation
For more then six decades, Royal Dutch Shell has demonstrated its dedication to improving fuel efficiency and engaging the public. The company’s first fuel efficiency competition took place in 1939 in the USA. The first European Shell Eco-marathon was organised in France in 1985. Today, more than ever, reducing CO2 emissions on a worldwide level is imperative especially in light of the worldwide increasing demand for energy and mobility. This global question can only be solved by improving efficiency through innovative technical solutions.

The Strategy

The SEM is an essential element within Shell’s Corporate Social Responsibility programme, demonstrating overall commitment to raising efficiency in fossil fuels and to research and develop alternative fuels. The communication strategy aimed to reach all relevant stakeholder groups in all relevant countries and concurrently ensure consistent communication of key messages. Therefore, a Pan-European PR campaign was set up, addressing participants, politicians and media. Throughout the campaign, communication was centrally steered but individually implemented in all countries according to local conditions. Media relations, relying on the strong imagery and atmosphere conveyed by the participants, was at the core of the European communication campaign.