CITGO to Advertise its Patriotism

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CITGO to Advertise its Patriotism

HOUSTON -- CITGO, the subsidiary of Venezuelan-owned oil company CITGO Petroleum, will launch an advertising campaign that will clarify issues surrounding the company's political affiliations and its commitment to its business in the United States, Marketing Daily reported.

The campaign, from Barkley of Kansas City, will hopefully counteract the negative sentiment around the company and its parent's ties to Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, and his comments made at the U.N. last month. Citgo declined to comment on the cost of the campaign, but will distribute materials to independent owners of the 13,000 CITGO stations in the U.S. to use for education and provide talking points for potential media inquiries.

The theme will build in the "Fueling more than your car" campaign launched in June to promote the Citgo-branded Citi Platinum Select MasterCard. It highlights the company's 100-year-plus history in the United States and its "American community" of more than 100,000 workers.

"This is about business versus politics," Citgo spokesman David McCollum told Marketing Daily . "We want to stress our commitments to the U.S. marketplace and to the American consumer, not distance ourselves from Venezuela."

The company had previously issued a statement to correct information that had been released by the media about its relations with its Venezuelan-owned parent company and ties to Chavez. At that time it stated that competitors such as ChevronTexaco, ConocoPhillips and Valero all play a part in Venezuela's crude oil supply. It also included reminders of the company's charitable acts during events such as Hurricanes Rita and Katrina.

The conflict arose when 7-Eleven announced that its fuel supply agreements with CITGO would expire and not be renewed. More than 2,100 stations would be affected by the termination of the 20-year contract. Because the announcement came just a week after Chavez's remarks at the U.N. about president George W. Bush, many people thought the termination was in response to the comments made.

CITGO is owned by PDV America, Inc., a subsidiary of Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A., the national oil company of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.