Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Shell Plans Massive Effort to Replace Texaco Brand

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Shell Plans Massive Effort to Replace Texaco Brand

Article excerpt

A major rebranding effort could change the landscape along Oklahoma highways beginning this summer, when existing Texaco stations become Shell stations.

With the purchase of Texaco's assets in the U.S. downstream business nearly finalized, affiliates of Shell Oil have launched of one of the largest rebranding efforts ever undertaken in the United States.

Texaco-branded retailers and wholesalers received letters last week notifying them of the rebranding effort. There are close to 13,000 Texaco stations nationwide, with the vast majority expected to be rebranded as Shell.

The rebranding effort will have a major impact in Oklahoma, home to more than 500 Texaco stations and almost no Shell.

"Oklahoma is a strong -- at present -- Texaco state," said Rick Wirth, spokesperson for Shell. "There are other states in the union that are the opposite, but Oklahoma is predominantly Texaco. So your landscape is going to change a bit."

There are more than 250 Texaco stations in the metro area.

Wirth said conversion will begin this summer and be completed by 2004, "the sooner the better as far as we're concerned."

The conversion schedule will differ from market to market, Wirth said. He declined to state when Oklahoma's market conversion is slated to begin.

"It's not going to be a cookie cutter approach," Wirth said, adding that the conversion process will differ from market to market based on consumer needs. The company has already begun conducting market research, including focus group work.

Wirth said the company is working to retain the loyalty retailers in addition to customers. As a result, the promotion of existing Texaco stations will continue right up until the time of conversion.

"The vast majority of our network is independently owned and operated," Wirth said. "So not only do we have to convince customers that they should try Shell, but we have to convince a lot of wholesalers that they should switch to the Shell brand."

As part of its leveraging efforts, the company will aggressively promote its Shell credit cards. …

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