While Ms. Singer said the intention of the campaign was not to separate Shell from BP or the oil spill, some marketing industry executives think the campaign is doing just that. “Everyone in the oil industry has fallen into a deep pit because of this debacle and it’s a mark against the whole category,” said Dean Crutchfield, chief engagement officer at Method, a brand-experience agency. “This is a breakaway campaign for Shell looking to distance itself from BP and what seems to be irresponsibility. It’s a stake in the ground of where Shell wants to go to distance itself from the category. All of the oil companies made statements that BP was at fault. But nonetheless they have to show that therefore they are not.”
Mr. Crutchfield said the entire oil category is currently considered dirty and negligent and that it’s a battle for both share and reputation. As a result, he expects it won’t be too long before some of the other major oil competitors start their own major campaigns.
“These oil companies have to put out an offensive posture and make a statement or point of difference that they can then create as a trajectory for the business going forward,” Mr. Crutchfield said. “All of the major players are going to have to put a stake in the ground in terms of where they sit and stand in the market and what their view is. They did it in front of Congress, now they have to do it in front of the consumer.”