The name of my Amazon Kindle book – “John Donovan, Shell’s nightmare” is not an ego-driven title dreamt up by me, but the headline of an article by an award-winning newspaper journalist, Christoph Giesen published across the EU in ten languages.
A broadsheet German daily newspaper, Süddeutsche Zeitung published a major article about me on 20 March 2012 under the headline “Konzernfeind No. 1.”
The article by Christoph Giesen told the story of my epic feud with the oil giant Royal Dutch Shell, a former client of the multinational company I co-founded, Don Marketing.
Over a decade of spectacular mutual success followed by two decades of hostilities, including sinister episodes of cloak and dagger activity by Shell against my father and me.
The English translation of the above newspaper headline: Shell’s enemy No.1
It was republished on 27 March 2012 by the European Journal/VOXeurope in ten languages under the headline: “John Donovan, Shell’s nightmare.”
A related TV documentary feature filmed in the UK and Russia was subsequently broadcast across Europe by Deutsche Welle (DW) the leading German TV international public broadcasting channel. It included an interview with former Russian Deputy Minister of the Environment, Oleg Mitvol, named in a Guardian newspaper article as a “Kremlin attack dog.” Film footage of President Putin appears in the feature.
A small sampling of the thousands of retailers and major global brands that were all clients of the worlds No1 Promotional Games company, Don Marketing.
Whitbread Scoop the Pools promotion.
Don Marketing co-founder John Donovan photographed in October 2020 with a Whitbread “SCOOP THE POOLS” poster.
Nabisco Shredded Wheat Space Invaders Promotion.
Approx size: 22 x 30 cm portrait.
Don Marketing co-founder John Donovan photographed in October 2020 with a Nabisco Shredded Wheat Space Invaders poster.
Two decades before co-founding Don Marketing, John Donovan was in the petrol retailing business with his father Alfred Donovan operating a chain of petrol stations and garages in East London and Essex. Their main garage, known initially as East & Donovan and later as A & J Donovan, held Standard-Triumph and Leyland light commercial franchises.
In 1967, Alfred and John Donovan founded Jackpot Promotions, which launched a Freeline Football petrol sales promotion at garages throughout the UK, including Fina, Cleveland, Amoco and independent petrol stations. The computer-printed football coupons – examples below – were printed by Thomas De La Rue. Each contained a different pre-paid entry on Zetters Pools.
Freeline Football used Australian football teams in the summer season.
In 1979, Alfred and John co-founded Don Marketing with Bob Donovan and Don Redhead and launched a modified Freeline Football promotion on “no purchase necessary” basis.
DON MARKETING PROMOTIONAL GAMES FROM 1979 ONWARDS.
(Left to right) Roger Sotherton (Managing Director), John Donovan (Chairman) and Ken Brown (Operations Director).
Some Don Marketing staff including Steven Donovan and Lisa, smiling.
DON MARKETING OCCUPIED THE ENTIRE TOP FLOOR OF CRITERION HOUSE IN CHELMSFORD.
The Game pieces displayed below are not actual size.
GAMES FOR SHELL
SHELL MAKE MONEY GAME 1984 FOR SHELL UK
Don Marketing supplied the Make Money game on an international basis for Shell, including Shell Singapore – poster immediately below.
Fast flowing Don: Marketing Magazine 16 February 1984
Shell Make Money full page advert: Daily Express 21 February 1984
Shell Make Money full page advert: Evening Standard 21 February 1984
Shell is back making money: Incentive Marketing and Sales Promotion March 1984
Anatomy of a Shell winner: Campaign Magazine 27 April 1984
The Shell Mastermind promotion was launched Monday 2rd July 1984
Large Shell Mastermind forecourt poster. Approx size: 35 x 45 cm portrait.
(John Donovan with Shell Mastermind poster, October 2020)
Front cover of Marketing Magazine published 6 September 1984
SCREENSHOTS FROM BBC TV MONEY PROGRAMME ON BBC TV (presented by Brian Widelake and Valerie Singleton). PACKAGE FOCUSSED MAINLY ON SHELL MASTERMIND. THE BBC FILMED DON MARKETING’S SUPERVISION OF THE PRINTING OF THE SHELL MASTERMIND GAME IN NORTH WALES.
SCREENSHOT OF JOHN CHAMBERS FILMED INTERVIEW ON “THE MONEY PROGRAMME” WHEN THE SHELL MASTERMIND GAME WAS STILL IN PROGRESS AND MORE MASTERMIND GAME PIECES WERE BEING PRINTED.
TWO SCREENSHOTS SHOWING SHELL MASTERMIND GAME PIECES BEING PRINTED BY DOBSON & CROWTHER PRINTERS IN NORTH WALES
DON MARKETING CO-FOUNDER DON REDHEAD, FILMED SEEDING THE MAJOR PRIZES DURING THE SHELL MASTERMIND PRINT RUN OF 96 MILLION GAME PIECES
KEN BROWN CARRYING OUT PRIZE VERIFICATION OF SHELL MASTERMIND MAJOR PRIZE CLAIMS
SCREENSHOTS OF DON MARKETING MANAGEMENT TRAINEE SWEN OLSEN FILMED OPERATING A VIDEO VERIFICATION CAMERA DURING THE MAJOR PRIZE VERIFICATION PROCESS OF THE SHELL MASTERMIND GAME
MAGNIFYING DEVICE BEING USED ON A SHELL MASTERMIND GAME PIECE CLAIM FOR A £500 PRIZE
SCREENSHOT OF FINAL INTERVIEW SEGMENT WITH JOHN CHAMBERS ON “THE MONEY PROGRAMME”
SCREENSHOT- CLOSING MAIN CREDITS FROM “THE MONEY PROGRAMME”
Shell Press Release for Shell Mastermind Promotion July 1984, plus FULL RULES and Game Piece (Promotion launched Monday 2rd July 1984)
EXTRACT FROM PRESS RELEASE:
John Smeddle, Sales Manager, Shell UK Oil said: “The success of Make Money, which we launched in February, is now a matter of record. It increased our trade and helped to change the petrol market from one concentrating almost exclusively on price to one where we could create interest and excitement for the motorist buying petrol at a fair price.