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Shell's Traditional/Digital Brand Integration

Merging Magazines With Multimedia: Brand Integration

Traditional print advertising might be dying, but it’s not dead yet. And maybe the push to integrate digital media via newspapers and magazines will help it live a bit longer.

I ran across a good example of this in a recent addition of Fortune magazine with an ad for Shell. The overall message: we need to prepare for future generations by meeting the growing energy needs of the modern world. The ad text briefly describes a competition that Shell has held for the past 25 years, challenging university students to design, build and drive the most fuel emission vehicle possible. Last year’s winner, incredibly, achieved 8,674 miles per gallon!

That figure alone was enough to peak my interest. The problem with print advertising before the internet age was that Shell had me engaged – a difficult feat for any advertiser – with nowhere else to go for information besides maybe calling the company headquarters itself. Now, thanks to our connected nature, Shell can provide easy access to a wealth of other information at the tap of a screen.

Normally I find it easiest just to type in the url directly into my closest browsing device assuming the URL is reasonable, however, Shell’s call to action was to download an iPad app by scanning the 2D barcode directly on the ad page, which I find easier than navigating through the increasingly crowded App Store.

The AppShell App Screenshot

After downloading the Inside Energy app, I found it intuitive to navigate and full of information on topics relating to the ad’s promised message. Clearly the people at Shell have seen the latest trends in creating engaging content as well, because the app is full of images, video, infographics and interactive features utilizing the iPad’s touchscreen nature. And though I probably won’t use the app very often, I took away some really interesting information, a potential resource for future energy saving articles and a more favorable opinion of Shell as a brand.


Effective brand integration from digital into traditional media is much more difficult than simply slapping a 2D barcode into a magazine, so I applaud Shell. Unfortunately, few companies seem to get this, and as a result, are deteriorating the experience for all brands. Though it might seem like a bad thing, I view it as an opportunity. An opportunity for brands to rise above the mainstream clutter and integrate new trends, techniques and technology to keep us, the reader, engaged.

The fate of traditional media might depend on it.