Shell’s global media account up for grabs

By Joseph Ekeng

Shell, the energy giant, has initiated a comprehensive review of its global media account, currently under the management of WPP’s EssenceMediacom. WPP has been responsible for handling media planning and buying duties for Shell since 2005. According to industry insiders, multiple agencies have been invited to participate in the pitch for the coveted account.

As a significant advertiser, Shell has garnered attention for its substantial marketing expenditure, reportedly around £142 million annually. With this review, the company aims to ensure that its contracts align with its evolving business strategy and current requirements, according to a spokesperson from Shell.

News of the global account review has been circulating in recent days, drawing attention from various quarters. Activists from the environmental campaigning group Extinction Rebellion seized the opportunity to stage protests outside EssenceMediacom’s offices on Theobalds Road in central London. The protesters urged the agency not to repitch for the Shell account and presented a series of suggestions to garner support for their cause. These suggestions included appealing to agency and network heads to boycott the pitch, internally sharing informational leaflets, and utilizing Extinction Rebellion’s TruthTeller site for whistleblowing on the pitch process.

EssenceMediacom, while declining to comment specifically on the account review, acknowledged the presence of the protest and described it as “very peaceful.” Shell, on the other hand, refrained from providing any comments regarding the protests.

Shell’s decision to review its global media account comes in the wake of the company’s announcement of its new strategic initiative, “Powering Progress,” in 2021. The initiative aims to accelerate the transition of Shell’s business operations towards achieving net-zero emissions.

As the review progresses, industry watchers eagerly await the outcome, which will not only have implications for Shell’s media landscape but also shed light on the role of activism in shaping corporate partnerships and alliances in today’s socially conscious environment.


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