Shell - The Great Travel Hack


Supporting Content
Supporting Content







As an energy company, courting a young ‘energy engaged’ audience is pivotal to the brand, 63% are motorists and they are highly politically and environmentally engaged and arguably influential: they represent future talent and key opinion leaders. However, this is the audience arguably most sceptical of the big energy companies, believing them to be ‘part of the problem’ when it comes to climate change: big old fashioned and only interested in profits, not therefore an audience interested in spending time with the brand.

Brief & Objectives:

Our challenge was to build engagement with the brand as a trusted voice, to shift brand image from a company that is part of yesterday to a company that is part of today and tomorrow with the specific communication objectives of demonstrating this is a company committed to improving lives by providing cleaner ways to move around.


Our idea, The Great Travel Hack (TGTH), combined all the necessary ingredients for entertainment: competition, a reality format, global locations, and A list talent into a branded content platform. The brand mission was not a bolt on but integral to the idea: 2 teams, 3000 miles, lowest emissions possible. TGTH is a global challenge where two teams compete in a race from Los Angeles to New York in season 1 and London to Istanbul for season 2, but this is not about who can go the fastest, it’s about who can go the cleanest (within a time limit).: lowest CO2 emissions wins. With an A list host, teams made up of influencers, and a mission control staffed by an endearing ‘lower carbon’ and transport geek squad, the 5-episode series was hosted across YouTube, Amazon, Facebook and a host of other streaming platforms, reflecting the viewing habits of our millennial audience.


The power of TGTH is two-fold, firstly it’s a devastatingly simple idea centred on emissions, which keeps the brand message uppermost and integral to the idea. Secondly, however, as the drama unfolds the reality of the transition to an energy rich lower carbon transport system is vividly revealed with all the inherent frustrations and challenges. As creator and presenter of the series, it demonstrates that Shell is involved in and supportive of the ongoing emergence of a lower carbon transport system.

Through supporting content, it provides proof that Shell is investing in the energy sources, fuels and infrastructure that are making the mobility transition possible. Namely hydrogen, EV and LNG for transport.


This was Brand Entertainment powered by Big Data, whereas Classic TV storytelling pushed out a message and hoped people paid attention, modern storytelling has the advantage of consumer data to understand what and where people are paying attention to - enabling us to adjust the story to increase engagement; in essence mirroring human storytelling from person to person.

Both seasons consisted of 5 x 10-15 minute episodes hosted on the brand website, and streaming services , with episode trailers appearing on YouTube as prerolls, bumpers and online video.

Once at the YouTube channel or .com, viewers were encouraged to watch all the episodes and were introduced to supporting content that explains the brand’s specific actions in developing cleaner mobility.

Condensed versions of the episodes (2 minutes) were promoted across Facebook and Instagram, allowing people to enjoy the series without leaving their newsfeeds.

Short, 10” to 15” social trailers encouraged viewing.


The brand entertained the world with over 1.1 BILLION views, and was watched for a total of 177 million minutes, equivalent to nearly 3 million hours or 337 YEARS time spent with the brand, resulting in significant attitudinal shifts. On YouTube, perceptions of the brand ‘delivering cleaner energy solutions’ more than trebled as a result of TGTH, from 11% to 37%.

On LinkedIn, similar studies showed perceptions of ’making a positive contribution to society’ more than doubled, from 10% to 21%.

We witnessed a boom in followers and fans on social and digital platforms. The brand’s YouTube following grew by 127% over the course of TGTH to 400K subscribers, and amassed 90 thousand new fans across Weibo and WeChat in China.

Similar Campaigns

12 items

Just Ok


Just Ok

2019, AT&T

(opens in a new tab)