Introduction

In 1979, the company I co-founded, *Don Marketing, created and supplied promotional games that were used to promote petrol sales on the forecourts of all major petrol brands in the UK, including Shell.

In 1981, we moved into a  direct contractual relationship with Shell as a result of a presentation I made at Shell-Mex House in The Strand, the then London HQ of Shell UK Limited.

I put forward a proposal for Shell to launch a legal version of a promotional game called Make Money that Shell had abandoned in the 1960‘s out of concern that it was in breach of UK lottery laws.

We agreed in an exchange of correspondence to share rights to Make Money and we launched the promotion to award-winning spectacular success in 1983. It caught the imagination of the public and the news media.

We were treated like heroes by Shell and supplied Make Money and other promotional games to Shell on an international basis.

The mutually successful relationship ended in acrimony lasting over two decades, with bouts of litigation.

The unfortunate hostilities have also involved cloak and dagger activity admitted by Shell.

There is a gallery at the end of some chapters which feature screenshots related to the content of the chapter. Some also contain news reports published about these events.

They provide an indication of the degree of media coverage of what was described in one article as a war (Times Diary), and in another as a public feud.

Most of the information herein is taken from the published eBook: John Donovan, Shell’s nightmare.

It is a true account of extraordinary events involving one of the world’s largest and most unscrupulous companies: Royal Dutch Shell.

I contend that the overused David v Goliath analogy can be fairly applied to this epic tale.

*Don Marketing was founded by Donovan family members, Alfred, Bob and John and their chartered accountant friend of long-standing, Don Redhead. Alfred and Don are both sadly deceased and much missed by all who knew them.

Some news headlines about the litigation Shell would prefer to forget

Selection of related webpage header images from our RoyalDutchShellPlc.com sister website, also operated by John Donovan

Header images on royaldutchshellgroup.com

read more

royaldutchshellplc.com and its sister websites royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellnazihistory.com, royaldutchshell.website, johndonovan.website, shellnews.net, shell2004.com, shellshareholders.org, don-marketing.com and cybergriping.com are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article: royaldutchshellplc.com

CHAPTER 2: An unscrupulous Shell executive

The actions of an ambitious, unethical young Shell executive, intent on ruthlessly exploiting his position at Shell for personal gain, poisoned the previously excellent relationship we had enjoyed with the oil giant. Unfortunately, Shell senior management gave their full backing to the relevant unscrupulous executive: a decision they must regret as it has since cost the Group billions of dollars.

In 1992, in our capacity as directors of Don Marketing, a colleague and I presented in strictest confidence, a series of sales promotion ideas to a new Shell UK National Promotions Manager.

As many years have past, I have only used within this book the initials – AJL – of the relevant individuals’ name. I cannot do the same for items already published i.e. linked documents, media articles, correspondence and electronic communications.

After giving us a very positive response to our proposals, including encouraging email messages, AJL secretly funnelled our ideas to a promotions agency with whom he had a special relationship. read more

royaldutchshellplc.com and its sister websites royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellnazihistory.com, royaldutchshell.website, johndonovan.website, shellnews.net, shell2004.com, shellshareholders.org, don-marketing.com and cybergriping.com are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article: royaldutchshellplc.com

CHAPTER 3: Donovan vs Shell litigation

Shell stole confidential intellectual property from us on several occasions. We sued and Shell settled. The settlements were inevitably surrounded by secrecy and deception designed to prevent embarrassing information from reaching third parties, particularly Shell shareholders.

LITIGATION BETWEEN 1994 AND 1996

Shell tried to keep the court settlements in the pre-Smart litigation secret  – see pdf of magazine feature – “High Court papers unveil ‘secret’ Shell writ losses.” 

The feature published in April 1998 was spread over several pages of Marketing Week magazine.

Shell settlements with me were inevitably surrounded by secrecy and deception designed to prevent embarrassing information reaching third parties, particularly Shell shareholders.

The first three High Court actions brought by Don Marketing were in respect of short-term promotions. Namely, a rerun of Shell Make Money; a Nintendo Gameboy themed instant win game, and a “Now Showing” movie-themed promotion. read more

royaldutchshellplc.com and its sister websites royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellnazihistory.com, royaldutchshell.website, johndonovan.website, shellnews.net, shell2004.com, shellshareholders.org, don-marketing.com and cybergriping.com are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article: royaldutchshellplc.com

CHAPTER 4: Shell hypocrisy

In October 1996, I received an unsolicited letter of apology from Shell Chairman Dr. Chris Fay for the way we were treated by Shell. His letter arrived after Shell had already settled out of court with us for four High Court actions and one County Court case. As can be seen, the tone of the letter not meant for public consumption was totally at odds with press releases issued by Shell before and after his letter. The tone of the apology letter from Dr Fay (shown immediately below) was totally at odds with press releases and statements published or distributed to third parties by Shell before and after his letter. Examples are displayed. It is therefore difficult to avoid the conclusion that the apology letter was disingenuous. read more

royaldutchshellplc.com and its sister websites royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellnazihistory.com, royaldutchshell.website, johndonovan.website, shellnews.net, shell2004.com, shellshareholders.org, don-marketing.com and cybergriping.com are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article: royaldutchshellplc.com