Shell: When advertising cannot be the answer

Shekhar Deshpande

Summary: When advertising cannot be the answer

Doing the right thing isn't always about giving someone what they've asked for. Rather than produce ads that celebrate the benefits of Shell Helix motor oil, we persuaded our clients that a TV programme was the answer.

By looking at motor oil from a human rather than technical perspective, and by using the principles of good storytelling, we were able to champion a new way to engage multiple audiences around the world. Over the 24 months it took to bring this idea to life, Planning wore different hats: from the day job of unlocking insights, seeding and championing fresh creative work, to being an integral part of the production team, helping steer the digital activation, ensuring a high level of interest in the content, and creating product messages that have never been seen before. It's also the story of tenacity, of not giving up, and last but not least, the value that only global Planning can bring to an idea like this, which has run in 89 countries.