Byravee Iyer
May 21, 2013

How Shell is building its brand in SEA and India

SINGAPORE - Motorcycle lubricant brand Shell Advance premiered its ambitious six-part series ‘Freedom Riders Asia’ a couple of nights ago in an effort to tap into the booming Asian motorcycle market.

Freedom Riders Asia made its debut on 19 May
Freedom Riders Asia made its debut on 19 May

 

The show, which was conceptualised by Fox One Stop Media and Shell Advance, features Charley Boorman, an actor and travel writer who embarks on a road trip across Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, India, Vietnam and Thailand. Each week Star Sports will air one episode, which will be promoted across Fox International’s channels including Fox, National Geographic and FX. MediaCom, the media agency handling Shell Advance will be managing the advertiser funded program for Shell Advance. 

“We are looking at doing things differently,” says Koh Kar Tai, global brand manager, Shell Advance. Kar Tai wanted to go beyond the 30-second TVC to make an emotional appeal to the brand's target audience. “We don’t want to do what our competitors do, because it’s not about closing the gap but about surpassing it.”

The chance idea sprung up during a focus group session, when the company was testing an idea for a television spot. Kar Tai believes that although the programme is more expensive than a regular television spot, it is more “spend effective.”

Here’s why: Shell has outlined that Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines, India, China, Pakistan, Brazil and Columbia are its top 10 growth markets. There are currently 350 million motorcycles globally, a number that is expected to grow to 500 million by 2015. Motorcycle oils account for just 3 per cent of the global lubricants market, but are projected to more than double in three years. Asia-Pacific consumes more than 76 per cent of this oil. What’s more, APAC is expected to account for 80 per cent of new motorcycle sales, with India, Indonesia and China leading the pack.

Although too early to say, Kar-Tai is keeping an eye out for key performance indicators. On the brand front this includes top-of-mind awareness like brand recall, brand preference and brand usage. He’s also doing a qualitative assessment of what people are talking about on social media and the press value the campaign is generating. He ultimately hopes to see a volume hike for the brand.

Still, Shell’s expectations for the campaign differ in each market. “The degree of increase depends on which country we talk about,” Kar Tai stresses. In Malaysia, where Shell Advance is a market leader, the company is on maintenance mode. In countries like India and Vietnam, where the brand has little awareness, Kar Tai is hoping to see something more substantial. For its part, Shell is also going the extra mile in these markets by organising promotional activations at the same time. In India, the show will be co-hosted by Gul Panag, an actor and biker. Mediacom's planning teams in local markets will be using the additional digital content created to extend this initative and broaden the campaign to reach out Shell's target audience. 

On top of all this, Shell continues to see its relationship with the MotoGP as an important brand building tool. Last year, Shell Advance was the title sponsor of the Sepang Malaysia MotoGP. Kar Tai couldn’t confirm if Shell will remain the title sponsor. The brand also remains the technical partner for team Ducati with riders and satellite riders donning Shell’s logo. Shell is also currently developing a mobile application that will direct users to the nearest retailer.

 

 

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