Campaign of the Month: Shell – ‘The Great Travel Hack’

Sustainability is on the mind of every brand today, and for good reason. According to our latest research:

52% of consumers see brands as responsible for the environment.

With this continuing shift in mind, energy giant, Shell, is paying attention.

Its new five-part content series challenges its target audience to rethink how they travel to be part of a lower carbon future.

Here’s why we chose ‘The Great Travel Hack’ as our March campaign of the month.

The Insight

Transportation makes up nearly 30% of the world’s total energy use.

This finding from the IEA’s 2018 World Energy Balances Overview gave the teams an idea.

Coupled with the knowledge that today’s consumers are making more conscious efforts to reduce the negative impact they have on the planet, they decided to do something new.

Their digital-first campaign, ‘The Great Travel Hack’ – part of Shell’s ongoing ‘Make the Future campaign which launched in 2014 – sets out to show people how they can continue to move, have fun and do business, while reducing their carbon footprints.

Shaped as a reality show-style competition, each episode is hosted by The Big Bang Theory’s Kaley Cuoco.

Two teams take on the challenge of traveling from LA to New York, battling it out to complete the journey while producing the lowest CO2 emissions.

The Message

“As populations grow and thrive, so does the need for more energy; to refrigerate food and medicines, to transport goods across the world, and to enable access to education and job opportunities.

But this increasing demand is contributing to rising pressure on our climate, especially when it comes to transport.”

This core message is spread across the dedicated web page for the campaign, posing two questions: “What could the road ahead look like? Could we all keep moving forward, while thinking forward?”

As a world-leading energy company, placing this focus on “finding ways to produce both more and cleaner energy” is a strategic move.

“It’s about having more engaging conversations about the future of energy,” says Dean Aragon, Global VP Brand at Shell.

In an effort to position the brand as an innovative, progressive player, the message is squarely aimed at a younger market.

Drawing on passions for travel and adventure, all the while honing in on a social cause and delivering the message in an entertaining way, the campaign was strategically developed with the target consumer in mind.

In a final bid to drive reach, the series is hosted on YouTube – the world’s most popular social network in terms of visitation/usage.

Why it Worked

This is an apt example of a campaign that’s not only driven by insight – it’s paying attention to fast-moving consumer trends.

Targeting a younger audience, the creative taps into these consumers’ interests in travel and adventure, along with their increasing concern for the wellbeing of the planet.

Giving their audience the right content with the right focus, the campaign works on many levels as engaging, episodic content and mass advertising.

Positioning the brand as one that both cares and entertains, the key message is that it’s paying attention. Leveraging a popular sitcom star to deliver on the authenticity side – is it an approach that will pay?

The YouTube series is running in the U.S., UK, Netherlands and Australia, with plans for two more series featuring teams traveling across Europe and Asia.