Want people to pay more attention to your advertising? Then understand what their concerns are as opposed to screaming at them, Shell’s Americo Campos Silva, chair of the Effective Channel Integration category at this year’s WARC Media Awards, tells Lucy Aitken.

Describe your role at Shell.

I am responsible for integrated brand communications. My output is the brand narrative and the storytelling in different shapes and forms from a more mass media perspective. Some years ago, we’d call it brand advertising or corporate advertising. Those descriptions are now restrictive. My role includes helping to build the Shell brand image as a brand above the different Shell businesses that also have their own communications. I’m also responsible for capability building within the brand communications.

What are your biggest challenges right now?

The fight for attention. The clutter these days is so intense: we get distracted with a million different things and we are in the middle, trying to get our share of attention. It’s not by interrupting them that I’ll get more attention; it’s the other way around. Understand what people are interested in, then they’ll look with more attention to my messaging.

Today, consumers are totally in control: they can choose what TV they want to watch and when they want to watch it, and their phones give them access to anything at any time. That makes the fight for attention more difficult. Brands need to be in there in the right moment to reach consumers. Twenty years ago, you’d take a 30-second spot on primetime and reach half the population in one go. Today, there are still elements like that – that’s why appearing in the Super Bowl and other live sports is so expensive. Those live situations are where you can still interrupt and be more effective. But generally, more people are just not accepting interruptive advertising, especially when you just try and scream a message at them.

The other challenge is aligning Shell across different aspects of the organisation. The brand spans across multiple businesses, audiences and geographies, so alignment is difficult. One of my colleagues used to say that Shell is a bit like the US in that it’s multiple businesses under the same flag whereas the US is made up of the west coast, the east coast, middle America, blue collar, white collar, but all under the US flag.

At Shell, we have consumers that fill up their cars and buy cans of Red Bull and Mars bars at our convenience stores, but we also do business with governments in some remote countries. The scale is incredible.

What integrated campaign from a non-Shell brand has recently impressed you?

The Tommy Hilfiger Adaptive campaign.

I really appreciate all the effort in it because all the different pieces of marketing align: the product development, distribution and pricing. It’s very difficult to achieve that. The campaign itself, the way it was created and the way it was leveraged across multiple touchpoints is amazing. I was wowed by it.

What are you expecting to see from entries in the Effective Channel Integration category this year?

Campaigns that really maximise the different touchpoints and have them helping each other. The Tommy Hilfiger Adaptive campaign is a good example of that because it starts by understanding the consumers’ needs and then lets the different touchpoints help each other. That’s much better than just retargeting people after they buy a pair of trainers.

Is there a particular theme you would like to bring to the judging this year?

What are most people worried about? Climate change. Money. Consider initiatives like Kraft Now, Pay Later, where Kraft-branded pop-up stores gave federal employees bags of groceries.

This was when government salaries had been put on hold, so Kraft said they could pay for the groceries later on.

Campaigns like this are opportunistic: they solve problems and position brands well for the future. I admire their agility and flexibility.

What advice would you like to give entrants for this category?

Help the judges to understand the ‘why?’ of your thinking and your results.

The deadline to enter this year’s WARC Media Awards is 19 September. Entry is free and you don’t need to be a WARC subscriber to enter this global case study competition. More details here.