Oil Companies’ Image Ads Keep Flowing

In the wake of the BP oil spill, Forbes takes a look at what other oil companies are doing to get their message out:

Shell Oil recently launched a campaign created by JWT in London that trumpets the company’s efforts to “build a better energy future” by delivering liquefied natural gas to Japan and creating emissions-butting fuel for factories in Brazil. The Netherlands-based company rolled out the campaign, themed “Let’s Go,” in May. “It is even more important now to engage with our customers and stakeholders,” Patricia Singer, Shell brand manager, said in an e-mail.
Other companies are still backing campaigns that were already running. Citgo Petroleum hasn’t altered the media plan for its two-year-old “Fueling Good” effort. As part of the ad initiative created by the ad agency BVK in Milwaukee, Citgo touts the jobs it offers and the “millions of dollars and thousands of dedicated volunteer hours in social-development efforts.” “Because it supports our nearly 6,500 independently owned and operated retail locations, we believe it is a privilege and obligation to continue [the campaign] in these challenging times,” says Jennifer Moos, Citgo’s general manager of brand development.

Every industry made up of international conglomerates has its share of image ads. So it sounds like business as usual for the other oil producers. It’ll be interesting to see if BP’s troubles affect the perceptions of the rest of the industry.
Editor’s Update: Let’s look at some of Citgo’s very friendly web copy: “Millions of gallons of quality fuel and lubricants. Thousands of jobs. Countless volunteer service hours. CITGO is spreading the Fueling Good philosophy at every turn, and creating change in our communities.”
FuelingGood.com looks like a site for a community center or some other community-oriented charity. Citgo, may in fact be the good guy when compared to BP, ExxonMobile, Shell and the rest, but they’re still an oil company. The trick, it seems to me, is to own who you really are right now, but balance that with you you want to be (a respected and contributing member of the community).



About Dan Goldgeier

Dan Goldgeier is a Seattle-based freelance copywriter with experience at advertising agencies across the U.S. He is a graduate of the Creative Circus ad school, and currently teaches at Seattle's School of Visual Concepts. Dan is also a columnist for TalentZoo.com and the author of View From The Cheap Seats and Killer Executions and Scrubbed Decks.