KUALA LUMPUR: Shell, the global oil company, is moving into branded content in Asian countries as it seeks to take advantage of the fast-growing market for its products in the region.

To promote Shell Advance, the motorcycle lubricant, the company has launched a six-part series that examines local motorcycle culture. Freedom Riders Asia will air on Star Sports, a Fox channel.

"We are looking at doing things differently," said Koh Kar Tai, Shell Advance global brand manager.

He told Campaign Asia-Pacific that he wanted to go beyond a 30-second commercial and make an emotional appeal to the target audience.

"We don't want to do what our competitors do," he explained, "because it's not about closing the gap but about surpassing it."

He also suggested that the series was "spend effective", despite costing rather more than an ordinary TV spot.

The series will be accompanied by additional promotional activities in those markets where the brand has little awareness, such as India where the show will be co-hosted by a local biker and actor, Gul Panang.

The six countries visited are among Shell's planned top ten growth markets, and the region is forecast to account for 80% of new motorcycle sales in the next two years.

Vineet Puri, vice president of Fox One Stop Media, Fox International Channels' integrated advertising sales arm, described the program as a travelogue but said it was being aired on a sports channel to give viewers more diversity.

"This series would appeal to motorbike enthusiasts as the channel has many motorsports fans tuning in regularly," he said.

Data sourced from Campaign Asia-Pacific, The Sun Daily; additional content by Warc staff