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
SHELL MASTERMIND GAME FOR SHELL UK SUMMER 1984
The play’s the thing: Marketing 31 May 1984
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. “The fact that so many of our competitors followed into national promotions is testimony to the power of a properly structured forecourt game.”
Shell Mastemind full page advert: London Evening Standard 2 August 1984
Shell Mastermind half page advert: Daily Mirror 27 August 1984
Why games became big business: Campaign Magazine 14 September 1984
Marketing Magazine Sales Promotion Survey 6 September 1984: Covers Shell Make Money and Mastermind Promotions
DON MARKETINGS GAMES FOR SHELL WERE FEATURED ON A SEGMENT BROADCAST ON THE BBC TV MONEY PROGRAMME IN 1984 FROM WHICH THIS SCREENSHOT WAS TAKEN OF DON’S THEN MD MR JOHN CHAMBERS BEING INTERVIEWED. THE BBC FILMED DON MARKETING’S SUPERVISION OF THE PRINTING OF THE SHELL MASTERMIND GAME IN NORTH WALES.
SHELL MAKE MERRY HARRODS THEMED GAME FOR SHELL UK NOVEMBER, DECEMBER 1984
Shell Make Merry Harrods themed Scratch card game launched November 1984 (Devised by Don Marketing)
“Shell starts up a new promotion” (Shell Make Merry) Marketing Week 2 November 1984
Don Marketing launches dual forecourt attack: Campaign Magazine 2 November 1984
LEARNING THE RIGHT RULES OF THE GAME: Marketing Week 11 October 1985
FOR SHELL UK: BRUCE’S LUCKY DEAL. SUMMER 1985
FOR IRISH SHELL AUTUMN 1985
SCREENSHOTS FROM THE SUPPORTING HUMOROUS SERIES OF TV COMMERCIALS IN 1985 FEATURING THE LEGENDARY BRITISH TV ENTERTAINER, BRUCE FORSYTH
ONE OF TWO DON MARKETING VIDEO STUDIOS PROCESSING MAJOR PRIZE CLAIMS FOR SHELL BRUCE’S LUCKY DEAL.
MAJOR PRIZE WINNERS CHEQUES BEING PRINTED OUT FOR BRUCE’S LUCKY DEAL
Shell UK “Bruce’s Lucky Deal”, “Every Card Can Win” Scratch Card Game launched May 1985 (Devised by Don Marketing)
Shell UK “Bruce’s Lucky Deal” Daily Mail advert 24 May 1985
Old favourites that never die: Campaign Magazine 14 June 1985
Irish Shell “Bruce’s Lucky Deal launched August 1985
Marketing Magazine article “Games people play” involving John Donovan: 18 Sept 1986 (Photo of John Donovan holding aloft Shell Singapore “Make Money” game pieces – a national promotion devised and supplied by Don Marketing).
Marketing Week Magazine: RESEARCH: ENSURING THE RIGHT RESPONSE: 23 SEPTEMBER 1988
SCREENSHOT FROM A SEGMENT ON CHANNEL 4 NEWS WITH NEWSCASTER PETER SISSONS, FEATURING DON MARKETINGS GAMES FOR SHELL, AS DISPLAYED IN THE BACKGROUND.
SELECT SHOP GAME FOR SHELL UK
CAR WASH GAME FOR SHELL UK
SHELL UK STAR TREK THEMED GAME 1991
Don Marketing Star Trek proposal to Shell: 13 July 1990
Shell launches Star Trek scratchcard game: Sales Promotion Magazine March 1991
Warp factor ten, Captain!: Promotions & Incentives Magazine: June 1991
Will Shell’s intergalactic experiment pay off?: Cover story plus coverage on 7 pages with extensive colour piks: Promotions & Incentives Magazine July-August 1991
GAMES FOR OTHER PETROL BRANDS
TEXACO PROMOTION IN 1983
JET CASH GAME IN THE UK FOR CONOCO IN THE 1980s
FOR INDEPENDENT PETROL STATIONS IN THE UK 1979 TO 1984
FREELINE FOOTBALL PROMOTION FOR PETROL STATION GROUPS, SUCH AS THE BLUE BOAR GROUP, IN OPERATION BETWEEN 1979 AND 1983
“SCOOP THE POOLS” GAME FOR WHITBREAD IN 1982, IN CONJUNCTION WITH IAN GOODWIN AND ALAN MURRAY OF AB MARKETING & ADVERTISING GROUP, LEEDS
“TOP CASH” TRAFFIC BUILDING PROMOTION FOR INDEPENDENT PETROL STATIONS
Promotions for Guinness
Great Guinness Challenge in 1982…
Marketing Magazine Cover Story on Guinness 27 October 1983
(Quote from “The verdict on Guinnless” article: “During the advertising gap, between the end of the JWT reign and the start of ABM’s ‘Guinnless’ campaign, sales promotion took on a special importance. One promotion – the ‘Great Guinness Challenge’ scratch card game – was claimed to have boosted sales by up to 30% in participating pubs.” The Great Guinness Challenge was devised by Don Marketing.
Video of a Guinness internal presentation of the Great Guinness Challenge a patented game of skill devised and supplied in 1982 by Don Marketing.
The presentation was introduced by the Guinness Chairman, Ernest Saunders. It featured Guinness directors Michael Hatfield (Managing Director), David Hall (Director of Sales) and marketing manager Jim Reatchlous.
Related extracts from page 83 of the book:
NIGHTMARE: THE ERNEST SAUNDERS STORY, BY HIS SON, JAMES SAUNDERS: Published by Hutchinson in 1989: ISBN 0-09-174101-7
“Jim Reatchlous, the marketing manager, asked a sales promotion consultancy to come up with promotional campaigns which would have advertising back-up. One was called ‘Watch the Birdie’, and the other was ‘the Great Guinness Challenge’. The results were surprisingly good, and it was, in fact, those promotions that started to turn the brand around.”
The Great Guinness Challenge ran in over 25,000 pubs and clubs. The game was printed in the USA using computer-controlled ink·jet technology, which allowed us to print a different combination of questions and answers on every one of 10 million cards. Guinness acknowledged that the concept increased sales of draught Guinness by 30%.
The Pint Size Guinness Book of Records
The Pint Size Guinness Book of Records was designed and produced in collaboration with John Chambers, head of the Promotions Unit at the then Guinness Advertising Agency, Allen, Brady & Marsh (ABM). There were 10 different Pint Size Books to collect, each with 13 pages of different amusing and amazing facts. Each Pint Size book was originally packaged in a sealed cellophane wrap as per this example.
All linked into the ABM created “Friends of the Guinnless” advertising campaign.
More Brewery/Alcohol promotions
1983 McEWAN’S LAGER GOLF CLASSIC GAME
1985 STONES YORKSHIRE BEST BITTER TREASURE HUNT PROMOTION
1986 LAMOT PILS TRIVIA QUIZ
1987 TRIVIA QUIZ PROMOTION FOR LAMOT LAGER
1988 PROMOTION FOR LAMOT LAGER
“WHAT WOULD YOU DO” PROMOTION FOR GREENE KING BREWERY IN 1988
1983 GAMES FOR SCHWEPPES
1988 SOCCER EXPERTS GAME FOR BASS, MICHELLS & BUTLER LTD
1988 “SEE THINGS IN A DIFFERENT LIGHT” GAME FOR BASS, MICHELLS & BUTLER LTD SPRINGFIELD BITTER BRAND
1988? PRIZE QUOTATION QUIZ FOR BASS, MICHELLS & BUTLER LTD
WIN A FREE PINT GAME FOR COURAGE BREWERY 1983
1987 LAMOT POP TRIVIA WIN A FREE HALF PINT QUIZ GAME
1987 CARLING BLACK LABEL SPORTS QUIZ
1983 GLENFIDDICH WIN A ROYAL FORTUNE QUIZ
INSTANT WIN GAMES
1981 “CASH CUBE” SUPERMARKET PROMOTIONAL GAME FOR FINE FARE
CINZANO INSTANT ROULETTE
FULL-PAGE DON MARKETING COLOUR ADVERT IN CAMPAIGN MAGAZINE 30 SEPT 1983 FEATURING CINZANO INSTANT ROULETTE
Three Don Marketing directors (from the left, John Donovan, Roger Sotherton and John Chambers) at the launch of Cinzano Instant Roulette Game in or around 1983. The worlds first scratch-off competition game on a bottle label.
Don Marketing directors John Chambers (left) and John Donovan -the photograph was taken in or around 1983 with Cinzano INSTANT ROULETTE POSTER IN BACKGROUND
Cinzano Instant Roulette Bottle Label Game
If you’ve gotta lotta bottles…: Don Marketing Cinzano Game advert, Campaign Magazine 30 September 1983
Cinzano roulette could set a trend: Super Marketing 14 October 1983
Label Games: First scratchcard competition on bottle labels is launched: Packaging News November 1983 Article starts on front page, continues on page 4. Separate photograph of Don Marketing MD John Chambers (left) and Chairman John Donovan with Cinzano Instant Roulette poster
Scratch ‘n’ miff: Marketing Week 14 October 1988
“We were flattered to read the reference by Brian Francis to the Cinzano Instant Roulette bottle label scratch-off game, which he praises as the “most successful ever pre-Christmas promotion run of Cinzano”.
“The Knorr £100,000 TV Challenge” in 1984
Screenshot from TV advertising in support of “The Knorr £100,000 TV Challenge.”
SPACE INVADERS GAME FOR NABISCO SHREDDED WHEAT BRAND (RELATED YOUTUBE.COM VIDEO – What’s In The Box – 1982 Shredded Wheat Space Invaders Game)
During 1981, DON MARKETING devised a skill-based scratch card game with a “Space Invaders” theme for the “Shredded Wheat” breakfast cereal brand. A game card supplier printed some sample cards to our initial design. The game featured on 6 million pack and was the first instant win skill-based scratch card game in the world with a video game theme. Mr Dudley George, the relevant Nabisco brand manager, subsequently advised that the concept had generated the largest participation ever achieved in a Shredded Wheat promotion. He also said that he had received a letter from Rear-Admiral Sir “Sandy” Woodward, the Commander of the Falklands Invasion Force, praising the game, which had been hugely popular with his naval forces and as such, helped to keep their minds occupied at a time of high tension. A report about his letter was published in the November 1982 edition of Incentive Marketing and Sales Promotion magazine.
1985 KONICA FILM STAR CHALLENGE
1982 “CHRISTMAS BOX GAME” FOR TERRY’S OF YORK
1984 OLYMPIC GOLD GAME OF SKILL FOR TERRY’S OF YORK
1984 GAME OF SKILL FOR OSRAM
1983 GAME OF SKILL FOR POLAROID CORPORATION
1983 GAME OF SKILL FOR CHARNOS NYLONS
INCOMPLETE GAME CARDS
Don Marketing Brochures (from which some of the above images are extracted). Don Marketing ceased trading in or around 1999 as a result of repeated bouts of litigation with Shell.
Roger Sotherton was involved in all of the above promotional games:shellplc.website and its sister non-profit websites royaldutchshellplc.com, royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellenergy.website, shellnazihistory.com, royaldutchshell.website, johndonovan.website, shellnews.net and shell2004.com are owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia feature.