Shell: Poster Man (1960)

Shell: Poster Man (1960)
The John Heyer Estate
Access fees

In this animated advertisement for Shell Motor Oil, a cartoon ‘poster man’ comically attempts to secure a Shell poster on the side of a building.

This advertisement was made to screen only in cinemas prior to a feature film program despite being made after the introduction of television.

An animated ‘poster man’ arrives at the front of a building on his bicycle – glue tin, paintbrush, ladder and posters in hand – to erect a poster on its facing wall. In a series of clumsy mishaps, the man gets himself entangled as he puts up each quarter of the poster. After spilling his glue, wearing the paintbrush on his head, and impossibly rotating his ladder and bicycle 360 degrees, the poster man completes his task.

This scene is then revealed to be a mobile set piece which is pushed off stage, revealing a theatre where an audience can be heard applauding to his vaudeville act. As the curtain comes down, the Shell logo and X-100 Motor Oil banner fills the screen, again breaking the illusion of animated reality.

Summary by Poppy De Souza