Consumer Group Blasts Chevron's New Ad Campaign

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Consumer Group Blasts Chevron's New Ad Campaign

SANTA MONICA, Calif. -- After the debut of Chevron's $15 million "Power of Human Energy" ad campaign -- which aims at engaging discussion on energy issues and launched on a two-and-a-half minute spot on CBS' 60 Minutes -- the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR) lambasted the company, calling its efforts a "gauzy, Hollywood-slick" way for a strategy to keep profits high while rejecting a commitment to the future of renewable energy, the organization stated.

"This ad gives short shrift to renewable fuels and belies previous Chevron statements that the development of ethanol is an immediate reason not to invest in its current oil refineries," Judy Dugan, research director of, a FTCR project, said in a statement. "Chevron's ads make it appear vaguely committed to clean energy, while its corporate executives use biofuels as an excuse to curb refinery capacity. The company is also buying back $15 billion of its own stock this year, which boosts Chevron's stock value but does nothing to improve its current business or create a renewable future."

As CSNews Online reported yesterday, four advertisements will appear on television in the U.S. and regionally in Latin America, Europe, Africa, Asia and the Middle East, on channels such as CNNI, BBC and Discovery, Chevron stated. The campaign also includes print ads, online ads and special events. Global television advertisements -- "The Impossible," "New Frontiers" and "Renewable Energy" -- will appear in 1-minute and 30-second spots, the company stated. These ads will focus on the effect energy has on our lives and the commitment, ingenuity and responsibility Chevron practices to bring energy supplies to the market, according to the company.

"The energy industry is one of the most complex and vital industries in the world. Yet public opinion is most frequently shaped by the price at the pump," Chevron vice chairman Peter Robertson said in a company statement. "How we find, produce and use energy are critical issues of our time. We all need to participate in developing and shaping our energy future. Chevron takes on this challenge every day."

In its statement, the FTCR cited an Associated Press report, in which Robertson discussed ethanol and refinery increases. The FTCR quoted Robertson as telling the AP, "Why would I invest in a refinery when you're trying to make 20 percent of the gasoline supply ethanol?"
The FTCR also called the new campaign as a reversal from the company's "Real Issues" campaign that focused on regulation of oil companies, the organization stated.

"The 'Real Issues' ads were all too obviously aimed at intimidating any effort by lawmakers to rein in Chevron's federal corporate welfare payments or its gouging of consumers," said Dugan. "Chevron and the rest of Big Oil, having succeeded in gutting the federal energy bill of anything that might curb its profiteering, now aims to persuade consumers that it is a friendly corporate citizen. With gasoline hitting $3 again and no renewable alternatives at neighborhood Chevron pumps, motorists will have a hard time swallowing that."

In addition, the FTCR claimed that the new ad campaign is a repeat of its older "People Do" campaign.

"That campaign also focused on friendly, helpful Chevron employees and their commitment to community and environment," said Dugan. "The campaign lasted for 20 years and was the very definition of greenwashing."