Shell Puts Big Marketing Spend Behind V-Power NiTRO+ Fuel

HOUSTON — Shell will support its new Shell V-Power NiTRO+ Premium Gasoline with the launch of its largest North American fuel campaign and one of the largest ever, reported MediaPost. The company stated it is investing three times the marketing spend of campaigns from recent years.

The new campaign includes an endorsement by BMW for its 2015 M3 vehicles, an industry first, as well as a partnership with LiveNation for event activations and the involvement of ESPN's "SportsCenter." It will also feature national events, a TV commercial that will air nationwide, and a cross-country performance and luxury vehicle relay race starring Hollywood talent, celebrities and athletes as drivers, according to the report.

The TV commercial tells an animated story about how NiTRO+ saves an engine from gunk, wear and corrosion, which are depicted as monsters.

"We wanted a different way to say best total protection, and how to tell an epic type story," said Elen Phillips, vice president of fuels, sales and marketing, Shell. "So, we hired a Hollywood producer, director and top graphic CGI [agency]."

Relay race participants will include TV host Carson Daly, Chicago Bears player Matt Forte, boxer Sugar Ray Leonard and driver Mario Andretti. 

According to Shell, NiTRO+ combines two key cleaning agents that perform better than the single component in the previous Shell V-Power formulation, as CSNews Online previously reported.

The NiTRO+ campaign launched June 2 at New York City's Times Square with the exhibition of a service-station themed outdoor venue. This launch event featured:

  • A display of vintage and exotic cars with owners and famous auto collectors;
  • Virtual Formula race simulators;
  • A 3-D experience with Oculus Rift-powered Gear VR headsets;
  • A "Picture Yourself" activity that let participants see their images on a Times Square billboard; 
  • The mobile game "Unleashed," which let players battle gunk, wear and corrosion; and 
  • Attendees had the chance to win a new BMW 320i.

Shell's goal is to capture the interest of people who appreciate high performance. "Premium is growing; there is a larger percent of cars that recommend or require premium gasoline, from 37 percent in 2011 to 40 percent in 2012," Phillips said, noting that a challenge is presented by the 80 percent of premium buyers who think all fuels are the same.

"They know enough to want premium fuel, but not enough to go to the next level of detail. It's not about a demographic, but behavior," she continued. "It's thinking about making a deliberate choice and wanting the best gasoline."

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