Chevron Ad Campaign Doesn't Sell

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Chevron Ad Campaign Doesn't Sell

SAN RAMON, Calif. -- The Power of Human Energy campaign, a multi-million dollar advertising project kicked off by Chevron Corp. earlier this month, doesn't sell anything -- and that is the point, a Wall Street Journal article reported, citing the company.

The campaign began with a two-and-a-half-minute launch spot directed and shot by Lance Acord, cinematographer for "Lost in Translation" and "Being John Malkovich." The ad displays people's faces, many of whom are Chevron employees -- "not corporate titans," the voiceover states, "but men and women with vision," according to the report.

Other images featuring people in action allow Chevron to praise human energy and promises to provide oil "more intelligently, more efficiently, more respectfully" and to "never stop looking for alternatives," according to the WSJ report, which cited Chevron's television spots.

The ads are not aimed for people at the pump, but rather at policy makers and other influential people whose support is crucial for energy companies' desire to find more opportunities to drill for oil, the Journal said.

"It's a rallying cry," Gordon Bowen, creative director for the Chevron ads, told the Journal. "We don't sugarcoat the problem." He added "We hit it head on. But we say it's a problem that's going to be solved by human beings pulling together."

Chevron's employees also are a target of the campaign, according to the report. "This is all about building staff morale and keeping the loyalty of the people who work with the company," including suppliers, accountants and advertisers, James Marriott, who tracks the oil industry for Platform, an environmental and social-justice group, told the Journal.

The beginnings of the campaign came from U.S. focus groups and the surprising results that came from them, when they were asked about energy issues, Helen Clark, manager of corporate brand and reputation for Chevron, told the Journal.

"They were saying things like 'We need to drill for more ethanol,'" said Clark. "I was amazed at the lack of information."

The Chevron campaign expands the trend of energy companies using people in its advertising. Convenience Store News' Sept. 17 issue took a look at advertising campaigns by three companies that put people front and center -- Shell, BP and Cenex.

Beginning in 2005, Shell took a personal approach when it sent its U.S. president, John Hofmeister, on a 50-City tour to meet and greet the American people and answer their questions about energy. In October 2006, CHS Inc. launched the Cenex Guy campaign for its retail Cenex-branded sites. In it, an actor is showcased as a representation of the brand. And in April 2007, BP unveiled Helios Power, an animated advertising campaign featuring other-worldly characters that portray the company's employees.

To read the Sept. 17 article, click the link below:

The Face of Big Oil