Engineering Real Heroes

EDELMAN, London / SHELL / 2018

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The UK has the lowest representation of female engineers across Europe, making up only 11% of the industry.

To meet increasing demand for more and cleaner energy solutions, Shell knows we must make the engineering workforce far more diverse, as it believes this will play a critical factor in innovative and creative thinking. That’s why it’s vital to capture the imagination of future generations, and encourage them to become STEM visionaries, who can play their part in solving the world’s energy challenges.

We were challenged to:

• Create a campaign that raises awareness of Shell’s ambition in the UK to create more and cleaner energy solutions, in a way that appeals to millennials. And in doing so, build Shell’s reputation in the UK as an innovative energy company.

• Tell the Shell Eco-marathon story in a new and exciting way, moving from the technical attributes of the competition towards rich human stories


We showed engineering in a new light: telling the inspiring stories of young female engineers who took part in Shell Eco-marathon.

We created an integrated social and earned media campaign that brought together breakout actress Letitia Wright – whose recent on-screen character in the film Black Panther has inspired a worldwide movement of youngsters in STEM – and Anne-Marie Imafidon MBE, co-founder of STEMettes and a real-life version of Shuri, Wright’s on-screen character.

The series aimed to shine a light on the uniqueness of the Shell Eco-marathon competition and the possibilities of a career in STEM and, in doing so, promote a new generation of innovators finding solutions to the global energy challenge.

By creating relatable, human-interest stories, Shell was able to have a voice in the diversity conversation helping to inspire the next generation of innovators, while bringing to life Shell’s commitment to a cleaner energy future.


The Shell Eco-marathon story has been told for over 30 years. It is traditionally technically focused, exploring the efficiency and design of the vehicles, and several target media have already covered this element of the competition.

So, we had to tap into the human stories behind the competition and move away from the technical – spotlighting the passion and emotion that is involved in Shell Eco-marathon, in a way that appeals to 18-34 year old’s who may not be engaged in the energy challenge.

We partnered with Letitia Wright soon after her breakthrough portrayal of tech-genius Shuri in Black Panther, to cement the link between STEM and pop culture, ensuring the campaign appealed to a wider audience.

We targeted tech, lifestyle, showbiz and general news titles. By focusing on ‘bounce titles’, we created a ripple effect, landing further widespread earned coverage in the media as well as increased social conversation.


We leveraged International Women in Engineering Day to launch the campaign with an intensive press office to secure editorial opportunities, kicking off with a national news announcement, followed by targeted sell-ins for entertainment, content and education desks.

We pitched exclusive interviews across online, print and broadcast with Letitia Wright and Anne-Marie Imafidon, resulting in message-rich, quality articles in top tier titles such as Sky News, Mashable, Metro and Evening Standard.

The content was launched and hosted on Shell’s social channels, where several versions of the video assets were adapted to audience and platform types based on consumers’ passions such as celebrity, automotive and STEM. This allowed us to target audience segments and amplify with paid promotion to increase reach and engagement. Consumers were fed the hero piece of video content and pushed to watch more via one of the four profile films featuring the Shell Eco-marathon students.


Research conducted by an independent polling company using a forced exposure test of 150 18-34-year old’s, finding:

• 14 percentage point increase in brand trust

• 29 percentage point increase in believing that Shell is “actively addressing future energy needs” (against a benchmark of 17)

• 32 percentage point increase in believing that Shell is “a leader in providing innovative energy solutions” (against a benchmark of 14)

• 28 percentage point increase in believing that Shell “works to provide a sustainable energy future” (against a benchmark of 17)


• 268 pieces of earned media coverage

• 338M people reached through earned media across print, broadcast and online

• 98% message penetration (mentioning the purpose behind the campaign)

• 100% positive sentiment in earned coverage

• Over 750 earned social mentions, including from influential voices in the STEM space, including Melinda Gates, Microsoft Codes and Girl Scouts

• 13M views on owned social

• 500K engagements

Brand perception research comments:

• “Shell is developing engineering solutions for the future by inspiring the next generation and encouraging creative thinking.”

• “I am very impressed by Shell’s vision of creating more fuel-efficient vehicles and fuel.”

• “Interesting, informative and saw Shell in a completely different way after watching it, very positive.”

• “It showcased that Shell are looking in to the future.”

Client testimonial:

• “This is one of the best pieces of brand content I’ve seen on LinkedIn (indeed anywhere!). Amazing work – well done to all involved." – Richard Sullivan

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