Shell turns to music to communicate with younger generations about clean energy

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Shell's latest update to its #makethefuture campaign is a music video featuring five global music artists each representing a clean energy initiative.

Shell has a tough challenge when it comes to communicating its work around sustainable energy, Malena Cutuli, group head of integrated brand communications at Shell, admitted. 

"It’s no secret that Shell’s own macro challenge is particularly tough, so amidst deep cynicism and complexity, we needed to develop a disruptive approach to engage young people in our new energies mission," she said. 

So Shell started making music videos. Its first video last year "Best day of my lifetopped the viral charts for two weeks running in October last year, according to Unruly. 

"We could not have foreseen the incredible impact of the Best Day of My Life music video – it became one of the most shared videos of the year, with more than 800 million views across multiple channels – and more importantly, it sparked conversations amongst the younger generations around clean energy solutions," Cutuli said. 

This year, the song of choice is "On top of the world" by Imagine Dragons and stars Jennifer Hudson from the US, Pixie Lott from the UK, Brazilian Luan Santana, Nigerian Yemi Alade and Indian Monali Thakur.

The song was selected because it struck the optimistic note Shell was looking for in this campaign. 

"We wanted to engage global audiences in the energy debate through a song that is upbeat, catchy and positive, which also mirrors the sentiment of having access to more and cleaner energy," Cutuli explained. 

The stars were selected to represent the five nations, and also for their resonance with younger generations, she added. 

The video uses custom animation to help each singer demonstrate the impact of the clean energy projects supported by Shell around the world. 

It was led creatively by Lihu Rother, executive producer and Alex Braxton, creative director at Particle3 with post-production and Visual Effects by RealMotion. 

The five projects featured are:

  • Insolar: Providing solar energy access to low-income communities in Brazil
  • GravityLight: Creating sustainable and cleaner light for families and children in Kenya
  • Shell Natural Gas: Providing cleaner cooking with natural gas, saving families time in India
  • Shell Partnership with Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves: Bringing clean cookstoves to families and creating healthier homes in China
  • Shell Hydrogen: Creating additional cleaner transport choices for the future in the USA, Germany and the UK

The agencies working on the integrated global campaign for the video are J. Walter Thompson, Mediacom, Edelman, Particle3, Cord Worldwide, Eko, Picnic, and Colloquial. The campaign includes above-the-line, paid media, social, PR, and social enterprise partnerships. 

The music video launches today on Shell's Facebook page, and is accompanied by a suite of "Energy Explainer" films for people to find out more about each of the initiatives.