Record: 1 Title: Authors: Source: Document Type: Subject Terms: Gas buyers pick brand over price. Halliday, Jean jhalliday@adage.com Advertising Age; 4/21/2008, Vol. 79 Issue 16, p8-8, 1/2p, 1 Color Photograph Article *CONSUMER behavior *PRICES *GASOLINE industry GASOLINE SOCIAL aspects ECONOMIC aspects NPD Group Inc. DUNS Number: 065936890 EXXON Mobil Corp. CONOCOPHILLIPS Co. The article reports on United States consumers' gasoline buying habits in light of rapid rises in gas prices in 2008. The author states that consumers are choosing brand and quality over price and cites a study done by the research company NPD Group. The author also states that oil companies such as Exxon Mobil and ConocoPhilips are focusing their marketing on the quality of their products as well.



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Gas buyers pick brand over price
Costs continue to soar, but consumers shift their focus to product benefits Even as gasoline prices creep close to $4 per gallon in some markets, consumers are increasingly choosing to buy based on brand benefits rather than price or location. According to NPD Group analyst David Portalatin, consumers in the past year have more often cited product performance as a reason to buy a given brand of gasoline. That marks a turnaround after a decade of decline, indicating that big oil's branding pushes are beginning to pay off. It's "a little surprising," said Mr. Portalatin, given the record prices. Indeed, the price of U.S. retail unleaded gasoline hit a record average of $3.32 a gallon in the first week of April, although the San Francisco Bay area was even higher at $3.71, according to the most recent information available from industry researcher Lundberg Survey.



and the ad messages are working. Earlier. Mr. and "we continue to see that share grow. Wildman said Shell's quarterly research shows that consumers' perception of the brand's gasoline has improved dramatically since the campaign began running. Karen Wildman. still feels the need to nudge cautious consumers.com/ehost/delivery?sid=6c06e196-b6fd-4d87-8b0a-a646dfec9217%40sessionmgr104… 2/3 . Houston. though she declined to provide specifics." for customers who sign up for its branded credit card." That's not to say the gasoline giants don't still have a way to go. and we saw their growth. Wildman said. they might as well go for quality. lab-coat-clad scientists who are the "passionate experts. Portalatin said. but discount retail outlets such as Wal-Mart and Costco and supermarket chains such as Kroger have experienced a significant jump in recent years in retail gasoline share.12-1-25 EBSCOhost Nationally. Shell's agency for the campaign is WPP Group's JWT. Ms. the hypermarkets and grocery stores weren't selling gasoline. She credits improvement partly to the simple message that Shell gasoline can "stop gunky buildup" in engines. Portalatin said.S. This month it kicked off a second-quarter promotion. who might not be exposed to its national TV." The two videos tallied more than 1 million hits on YouTube from their arrival Feb. "Now they're advertising the quality of their differentiated products. banner or local radio ads with three humorous online viral videos featuring geeky. 25 through the end of March. Ms. Shell.ebscohost. prices at the pump jumped nearly 53¢ per gallon compared with a year ago. which created giants such as ExxonMobil and ConocoPhillips.. brand and communications manager of the Shell brand at Shell Oil Co. said the industry hasn't done a good job in the past five to 10 years of educating Americans about their fuel products. Mr." The remaining share of the fragmented industry is held by smaller regional players and independent outlets. Collectively. web. reaching a combined 13% at year's end. through 2007. "Earn 25¢ per gallon. oil companies were distracted by a flurry of massive mergers. "Ten years ago. Consumers who open a Shell gasoline card through June 30 will have 90 days to earn a $25 gift card for Shell locations by charging $100 in fuel. many of them younger." She said the $35 million she spent last year for the gas brand's "Passionate Experts" campaign was a good investment and is spending the same amount this year to continue the effort. but we didn't react as quickly as we should have. however. they commanded a 40% share in the U. But it appears consumers are deciding that if they have to pay more. Shell is also trying to reach drivers.

Wildman said the promotion's goal is to build loyalty and add 26. users may print.12-1-25 EBSCOhost Ms. jhalliday@adage. However.000 credit-card customers to Shell's roster of more than 12 million cardholders. she said. or email articles for individual use. ~~~~~~~~ By Jean Halliday. web.ebscohost. (MI) and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder's express written permission.com Copyright of Advertising Age is the property of Crain Communications Inc. Shell first tried the promotion in the third quarter of 2007. download. and it was the branded card's most successful promo.com/ehost/delivery?sid=6c06e196-b6fd-4d87-8b0a-a646dfec9217%40sessionmgr104… 3/3 . PHOTO (COLOR): SHELL VIRAL: The oil company is attempting to reach younger drivers on the web.

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