The “Shell lady”, played by actress and singer Marianne Krogness, has been characterised as one of the most successful marketing drives in Norwegian history.
In 1992, the whole country became familiar with the cashier who lounged behind the till in a run-down service station and shared her views on customer service. The slogan “Extra service – that’s Shell, that is” was on everyone’s lips.
The campaign comprised a series of commercials with a message dramatised in various ways, but always with the same mix of humour and informality. Shown on the new TV2 channel, these films attracted attention and won Norske Shell the title of marketer of the year from the Norwegian Marketing Association.
According to the citation: “Although the winner is an international company, it has run a wholly Norwegian campaign in 1992 where TV, radio and print media have interacted. The winner has achieved what many professionals dream of: making their marketing a media event and a byword.”
The campaign was adopted after Norske Shell, the parent Royal Dutch Shell group, its products and its whole business had attracted negative attention for a number of years. That related to its involvement in apartheid-era South Africa and the launch of an engine oil called Formula Shell, which turned out to damage Norwegian cars.
The commercials helped to boost the mood and motivation of Shell employees, both at the company’s service stations and in its upstream organisation.
They also attracted international attention, and the Shell lady was named the best advertisement personality in the finest marketing campaign in the whole group for 1992.