The UK’s largest petrol station is near the small commuter town of Cobham, Surrey, located just off the M25, one of the UK’s busiest motorways. At this incongruous setting, just over one month ago, a group of senior stakeholders from the energy and automotive industries pointed at what on the surface appeared to be another petrol pump and declared, ‘This is the future to a low carbon economy’.
Indeed, the pump in question was a bit different and held an invisible hydrogen gas that, that when used to power your car, emits exactly the same liquid that’s in a bottle of Evian – pure H20 – only.
The pump was built by Shell, and is the first-ever fully branded hydrogen refuelling station to be put on a public forecourt in the UK. Placed right next to Shell V-Power fuels, it marks a turning point in cleaner energy solutions for the mobility industry where, in the near future, Shell believes hydrogen will be just as viable an option as petrol or diesel. In addition, Shell will introduce more cleaner fuel options to its UK network of 1,000 service stations in the coming months. These include electric charging posts, Liquified Natural Gas (LNG), and Gas to Liquids (GTL), demonstrating its commitment to offering customers a wider choice of fuels while doing its bit to reduce noxious emissions.
Edelman was called upon to provide strategic counsel and support around the stakeholder launch event and with media engagement. The challenge was to demonstrate Shell’s commitment to hydrogen and use the opportunity as a call-to-action for government and stakeholders to put a framework in place to drive hydrogen forward in UK, whilst simultaneously communicating a realistic picture of Shell’s future for hydrogen.
The event was a huge success, with excellent stakeholder feedback and strong, positive and on-message media coverage. Exclusive interviews with Matthew Tipper, Shell’s Vice President of Future Fuels, were organised with the Financial Times, The Daily Telegraph, and Bloomberg ahead of the event, enabling Shell to control messaging and manage expectations while driving excitement around the launch with sizable feature pieces landing on launch day. A further news sell in on the day drove a flurry of media excitement, and the launch secured a total of 45 pieces of media coverage across national, international, fleet and energy publications, with an estimated reach of 441,607,896. Furthermore, the quality of coverage was strong, with 82% of articles containing branded imagery, and three quarters of coverage including a Shell spokesperson quote.