Shell’s history archive on YouTube

A white ampersand in a grey roundel. This team member has requested that we do not share their face online. Caterina Sorenti | 06 Feb 2024
The displayed video is of a vintage plane from 1956

Shell's successful video series on YouTube has the potential to draw in a new audience

Shell has introduced a “Film Unit – Historic Archive” series of videos to the company’s YouTube channel, in which company history is brought to life through archived film dating back to 1934.

Nineteen videos in just over a month showcase topics ranging from technology, science and engineering to craftsmanship and motorsport. Each video uses archived footage, which pays homage to the documentary tradition at Shell – throughout the 1930s the Shell Film Unit created cutting edge documentaries. Titles such as “Approaching the Speed of Sound” and “Song of the Clouds” are attention-grabbing, and chronicle Shell’s history of innovation in the oil and gas industry, and beyond.

This is a unique way of presenting the company’s history through social channels and has the potential to bring a new audience to The series has been well-received, accumulating as many as 1.1 million views and 13,000 likes on certain videos. 

A recent Ofcom study of the UK’s most popular social channels for adults showed that YouTube is the overwhelming favourite, with 91% of adults actively using the platform. This is a reminder of YouTube’s reach, but the channel remains underutilised among corporate web estates. Shell shows how companies can take advantage of the channel using pre-existing footage.