Shell Promo, Case study THE NETWORK OF CHAMPIONS by Edelman London

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Industry Automotive products, services and accessories
Media Promo & PR, Case study
Market United Kingdom
Agency Edelman London
Released March 2011

Credits & Description

Category: Automotive and Transport
Advertiser: SHELL
Product/Service: SHELL V POWER
Global Public-Relations Manager: Katy Barber (Shell)
Account Director: Anna Hardman (Edelman)
Account Director: Ivo Van Den Brand (Edelman)
Shell Senior Scientist: John Lambert (Shell)
Automotive Engineer: Glenn Wilson (Shell)
Deputy General Manager: Sharon Reid (Edelman)
Account Director: Marie Davey (Edelman)
Assistant Account Executive: Patricia Tuma (Edelman)
Global Public-Relations Manager: Leila Bibby (Shell)
Global Public-Relations Manager: Jill Martin (Shell)
Sponsorships Manager: Remi Sinai (Shell)
Technology Manager: Cara Tredget (Shell)
Global Sponsorship Manager: Richard Bracewell (Shell)
Sponsorships Manager: Stuart Humm (Shell)
General Manager of Shell Retail Fuels Strategy and Research & Development: Andrew Denton (Shell)
Head of Communications: Lee-Anne Barraclough (Shell)
Assistant Account Executive: Hannah Firth (Edelman)
Account Manager: Rhiannon Clifford (Edelman)
Account Manager: Diane Ruggieri (Signature Sponsor)
Account Manager: Amy Workman (Signature Sponsor)
Media placement: Event - - March 2011
Media placement: Event - - June 2011
Media placement: Event - - August 2011
Media placement: Event - - September 2011
Media placement: Event - - November 2011
Media placement: Digital PR - - March 2011
Media placement: Consumer PR - - March 2011
Media placement: Corporate Comms - - March 2011

Summary of the Campaign
Shell asked us to generate conversations and coverage for their premium fuel, Shell V-Power, across 4 countries: Germany, the Netherlands, the UK and the Philippines. We decided to take the approach of peer-to-peer storytelling and have everyday people tell the story for us.

And so it all began: the Shell V-Power Network of Champions. A community of 22 independent influencers from 4 countries on a journey together. A journey not only for them, but also for Shell. A journey to find out openly and first-hand how all fuels are not the same and how Shell V-Power makes a difference not only for Ferrari, but also for your 15-year-old Vauxhall.

The combination of physical experiences and hands-on interactive engagement, with unprecedented virtual access for Shell’s readers and followers to experts across the globe (whether through Twitter or video Q&As) established an overwhelming bank of content and coverage, but also a heart-warming community feel.

And 2011 was only the start. With the ‘Champions’ support, the community will continue to grow sharing more stories and co-create compelling content.

The Situation
Imagine a brand with no real news story; and a product that is low involvement, relies on complex technology that you never see or touch: fuel. We needed to make it exciting and create conversation around it.

People tend not to care about fuel and are even less interested in having one of the world’s largest oil companies tell them how amazing theirs is. Knowing that, our challenge was to explain to consumers why Shell V-Power is actually worth paying a premium price for in a challenging economic climate.

The Goal
The brief was to bring the Shell V-Power story to life across 4 countries, generating long-lasting, credible conversations and coverage about their premium fuel, whilst explaining Shell’s technology proof points.

The Strategy

We chose to tell the story by building a community and tapping into the passions of a handful of independent people: 'normal’ people - people who would love to know how it all works, new or not. People who are naturally interested in cars, technology or motorsport and could help tell our story for us. People who happen to have a strong (social) media footprint. People who understand better than anyone what type of content works for their networks.

In order to really make the story come to life, however, a big leap of faith from Shell was required. They would have to be transparent and share their expertise and technology in a completely new, interactive and innovative way. Shell would need to open up, be bold and creative. They would need to collaborate, co-create and move from ‘talking at’ to ‘engaging with’.

So we brought together 22 ‘Champions’ from the UK, Philippines, Netherlands and Germany and over the year gave them unprecedented access to Shell and Ferrari’s expertise. They offered the Champions a once-in-a-lifetime experiences, and were available non-stop to help create content and provide insights and answers to their (networks’) questions.

Through creative and experiential engagement, virtually at fuels labs, Ferrari’s HQ in Maranello and at the Formula One GP, we brought to life the Shell V-Power story, generating word-of-mouth recommendations in a fun and uniquely engaging way.

In 2011 the Champions took part in a social media workshop, blended their own race fuel, analysed lubricants from Alonso’s race car in the Shell F1 Paddock Track Lab, experienced how complicated it is to build an engine, had access to some amazing spokespeople, hosted Twitter conversations and posted reader-generated content, and drove a Ferrari around Fiorano Track in Maranello, Italy.

Documented Results
• More than 2,250 posts on blogs and social media in only 9 months, 99.9% of which were positive;
• Proven readership and content views by a global audience, spanning across the US, Australia, India, Indonesia, South-Africa and Europe;
• An impressive bank of photographic and video (co-)created content, across the Champions’ platforms;
• More than 200 retweets of key message, with many prominently featuring Shell V-Power’s proof points;
• A successfully built community of influencers who still actively keep in touch and share thoughts and experiences on a daily/weekly basis across the international network – having become true friends;
• Arming the champions with expertise and positive experiences stimulated them to voluntarily regulate inaccurate critical conversations online;
• We obtained some tangible consumer insights in local content preferences, storyline resonance and social media usage;
• The campaign realised a major culture shift for Shell whilst implementing a ground-breaking approach for the oil industry as a whole.