Shell Advance Freedom Riders Asia


Even among avid bikers, engine oil usually isn’t top of mind. Interest in the category is low and decisions tend to be made on price above all. What advertising there is touts the same old message of performance and functionality.

Mediacom needed an overarching idea to connect with motorcyclists, across seven Asian countries, while bringing to life Shell Advance’s new brand proposition of “Effortless Mobility to Experience Freedom”. In short, its challenge was to make biking engine oil exciting.


Agency research uncovered two facts that would be vital to reaching the target audience of motorcycle owners across the region:
- First, not only are they passionate about all things bike-related, they see their motorbikes as a vital part life, offering them thrills and a real sense of freedom.
- Second, there is a strong sense of community within the motorcycling fraternity, with the opinions of mechanics carrying particular weight.

If it could combine that sense of freedom and adventure with advice from key influencers, the agency could achieve its goal of promoting Shell Advance through a strategy of engagement.

Mediacom decided that video would be the best way to convey the sense of adventure it was seeking, and settled on a series of 30-minute TV episodes backed by digital content. But where should this content be aired? Further research showed that the audience had a strong affinity for sports – something that was a good fit with the theme of freedom and movement – so partnered with ESPN/Fox Sports to create a format that would allow it to create deeper engagement by connecting with everyday bikers and their communities in an entertaining way. Shorter versions would also be broadcast online.

Lastly it needed an influential personality to star in the programmes, and soon identified international motorcycling personality Charley Boorman. The show, Shell Freedom Riders, was born. The campaign was designed to fill a niche: there was no existing platform for the region’s bikers to communicate on. In the process, it would position Shell Advance as an important part of that community.


The show comprised six 30-minute episodes, each set in a major city in a key market. Shell branding was featured throughout, but more importantly the brand’s values of freedom through effortless mobility were demonstrated in dramatic fashion on screen.

Each episode featured several key elements. Each was themed around the idea of the road trip to convey a sense of adventure, while pit stops gave Charley the opportunity to meet local biking communities to experience their local traditions.

Every episode ended with a ‘big challenge’ where the host put to the test all the new knowledge he had gained that week. Shell Advance was incorporated subtly into the programme in a way that appeared natural, rather than through ads, meaning that the product was integrated into the lifestyle the show was documenting. Shell’s brand colours were used for the logo and throughout the programme.

The content was distributed on a variety of platforms, including FOX, YouTube and Youku, and local syndicated channels, with each episode re-cut into a shorter digital version.


Shell Freedom Riders Asia is a media first both regionally and globally in its category with results that over exceeded expectations.

High visibility of content - The campaign was a huge success, with the show reaching six million cable viewers in Singapore, Malaysia and Philippines with 35 million total viewings. The target of two million online viewers was smashed, with 1,891,313 views on YouTube and over 1,853,260 views on Youku.

High engagement - Bikers are viewing and engaging with this content online, with around 4 million views and 733K minutes watched on YouTube.

The show generated a total PR value of $759,662, with 196 clippings – 58 print and 138 online - across APAC. Stories were picked up by top-tier mainstream and motoring media, as well as key motoring bloggers.

Mediacom was able to successfully leverage both Charley Boorman and local talent on social media platforms in each of the markets, increasing Shell Advance’s SOV from 54% to 86%. The Shell Advance YouTube channel is now the #2 page in the biking engine oil category and #4 page in the overall Lubricant oil category.

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Asia Pacific
May - August 2013
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