CANNES—For global oil and gas conglomerate Shell, using social media influencers is all about generating positive brand perceptions. “These are ultimately the measure of success,” says Americo Silva, Global Head of Integrated Brand & Communications.

Visit the Shell website and you won’t see promotions for the company’s liquid products. Instead, the issue of climate change takes center stage. And so it was with one of Shell’s latest YouTube initiatives, called The Great Travel Hack, hosted by actress and sitcom star Kaley Cuoco.

“Over the last two years we have reframed our presence on YouTube,” Silva says in this interview with Beet.TV at the recent Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. “And I would say today we are much more professional, not only on the type of content that we put there but also the type of content that we don’t put there, to preserve what our subscribers want,”

Shell leverages technology for audience targeting and retargeting, “playlists, call to actions, all those types of best practices that are available today for anyone. You need to be good at all those things, otherwise you are missing a piece of the puzzle to be performing at your best,” says Silva.

The Great Travel Hack pitted two couples with “their own social media presence” against one another in a race from Los Angeles to New York. “We selected them by their audiences, their profile, their sympathy, their engagement, their awareness in their own countries and the authenticity that they have with their own audiences in the countries that they work.”

The goal was to make the 3,000-mile jaunt while emitting the lowest possible level of CO2. Vehicles used by the social media influencers in Team Alpha and Team Omega included a sailboat and a three-person sled powered by 12 dogs.

“And what we saw throughout this journey from Los Angeles to New York is that the more stimulus we gave them, the more interested they were in this subject and the more fluent they became to talk about this subject,” Silva says of the influencers. “Which was exactly what we wanted to achieve because it’s very organic, very natural, very native. We didn’t script it at all. This came across very natural.”

The company has several objectives for outcomes and KPI’s. “The success for us is really the outcomes in terms of the perceptions of the brands,” Silva says. “To have millions and millions of views on its own is not enough to be successful.”

This segment is part of a series titled The New Global Marketplace for Premium Video, produced at Cannes Lions and sponsored by RTL AdConnect. For more videos from the series, please visit this page. For all of Beet.TV’s coverage of Cannes Lions 2019, please visit this page.