Monday, February 28, 2011

Chevron’s Ads “Add Up To One Big Lie”

Advertising Age’s Jonathan Salem Baskin got it right in his latest piece about Chevron’s lies in its new “We Agree” ad campaign: “Is Your Advertising Telling a Lie?”

Baskin wrote:
“The story in London's Independent newspaper last week was unequivocal: Chevron has been fined more than $8 billion for causing an environmental disaster called by some "the Amazon's Chernobyl"....This is the same Chevron that is running a glossy "We Agree" branding campaign that claims it's in a conversation with people about saving the planet and, oddly enough, supporting communities.”
“You just can't take Chevron's branding seriously if you know what it's doing in Ecuador.”
“Every CMO should take note of this dichotomy: Both stories are true when presented separately. It's only when you put them together -- which is exactly what I think consumers are going to begin to do more of -- that they add up to one big lie.”

As Baskin notes, it’s clear Chevron’s expansive ad and public relations department isn’t coordinating with Chevron’s expensive legal team, Gibson Dunn, the law firm that promises to change the law if the law gets in the way of their clients’ goals.

Baskin wrote:
“...(Chevron’s) legal team has been fighting a lawsuit triggered by an operational division, using various delaying tactics reminiscent of the way tobacco companies used to keep terminally ill plaintiffs out of court. Chevron's lawyers have probably received bonuses for their accomplishments .... I find it gallingly stupid that the company ha dedicated significant money and staff resources for almost two decades to fight communities, and yet it recently decided to claim it cares about them, too.”
Baskin states bluntly that consumers can’t take Chevron seriously once they learn about the company’s behavior in Ecuador:
“Chevron's leadership must be daft if it thinks its gas-station consumers don't occasionally troll the internet for something more than a pickup poker game. Ditto for any state or federal regulator they're trying to impress. We learn things about brands far beyond the information marketers want us to know, and actions -- real-world activities, not clicks or qualitative surveys -- speak louder than words. You just can't take Chevron's branding seriously if you know what it's doing in Ecuador. The campaign all but dares people to check up on them.”