Is It Just Me or Do These Ads Also Drive You Crazy?

DSCN4679, originally uploaded by Prince of Petworth.

I can’t stand when I see these ads by Chevron or other big oil companies that tout how environmentally friendly they really are. Allow me to call bullshit on this! Please. It’s like the tobacco companies saying they support cancer research…

19 Comment

  • Thank you! What really bothers me is that the mantras are so token and ineffectual. I’m not an environmentalist but when I see “I will at least consider at hybrid,” I sigh.

  • Quincy St Neighbor

    LOL. Every time I see them, the tone I get is the burden of having to oblige by them, i.e. “I will use less energy” = “Oh gawd, do I have to?! What a pain that I have to use less energy b/c the powers that be are badgering me to do this!”

  • Slightly less tacky than those Planned Parenthood buy-one-get-one-free abortion ads.

  • weird, I was riding the metro on Fri thinking how annoying this ad was. the guy really creeps me out.

  • I am also driven crazy by these ads, mainly because they are insulting–do they think we are that naiive? I suppose so. Regarding the tobacco ads, were not the companies ‘forced’ to do that as part of a massive settlement? These gas peeps are just trying to cover their asses. IMHO

  • So Chevron starts producing ads to encourage people to use less and they get crap for it?

    Let me ask you this, is Chevron really that evil? What have they done that is so horrible? The create a product that we (Americans) can not get enough of.

    Does anyone here know what their environmental practices are? I sure don’t, and maybe they are horrible but my point to this little rant is that they may not be the enemy that every one paints them out to be.

  • Totally! I mean, seriously. Who do they think they are offering constructive advertising which suggests people conserve energy? The nerve of corporate responsibility… 😉

  • While there may be an element of tobacco company cancer research-esque dishonesty here, much of this campaign is part of a newer and legitimate effort by Chevron and other energy companies. The ultimate point of an add like this (and perhaps why some may say this is dishonest given its call for “less energy”) is getting people to think about “alternative energy.” Before we get all warm and fuzzy about the green interests of the company, you should know this is business and Chevron and others are making a play for that market.

    That is largely the product of trends in the fossil fuel business, mainly state controlled oil companies rapidly taking away market share from private oil companies – private oil companies are slowly being squeezed out of places where they reliably and safely operated for years. This may be hard to believe given record oil company profits, but it just goes to show they are looking at what is next in the energy sector (however benevolent that may seem to you) because they are losing ground in their traditional oil pursuits.

    But yes, they are also trying to make themselves look good, just like tobacco companies and the stop smoking ads – but there is more to it than that.

  • RJH, The Tabacco companies are forced to produce the stop smoking ads

  • It is called “Greenwashing” a company pays for green advertising so they can advertise how they are trying to make a difference. These also somehwhat irk me because most of the time I see them they are on the metro or bus…it feels like they are preaching to the choir advertising about using public transit on public transit.

  • The worst one is the one with the redhead (yeah I know) who says “I will recycle stuff” or something equally witty. The picture is all soft focus and appears like some kind of 1970s shampoo ad.

    Here’s an interesting reaction to it:

  • For anyone unfamiliar with Chevron’s record on the environment and human rights, please take a minute to look into it and you will see that they have engaged in alot of harmful and unethical practices over the years. While I do find the ads hypocritical, if they are able to reach people who would really benefit from hearing a message about energy conservation, I don’t mind them so much.

  • I thought it was just me.

    This is the print ad version of the Toyota “Saved by Zero” TV commercials.

  • I always thought the adds were similar to the ‘Drink Responsibly” adds the beer companies use.

    They are annoying. I wish they’d include more information about what they are doing to reduce energy usage, improve their environmental record, and cease using slaves to build their pipelines and supporting a violent regime in Burma (which their gas production bankrolls), and compensate the families of the environmental activists their security forces murdered in Nigeria.

  • Chevron, Exxon and Shell all have dubious records which can’t be erased by one green ad campaign. Its like Walmart. They are the nation’s largest organics retailer, but their power to drive what the word “organic” actually means and other corporate activity undermine the whole effort to promote clean and healthy living. Like Wlamart going for organics, Chevron is using green to make $$$$, like any smart business. The rub comes when the message is sound (use less!, try alternatives!), but the reality is the opposite (oil compnaies raked in the highest corporate profits EVER during the last two quarters, by selling oil for gasoline). The ads are the epitome of the fake warm fuzzies.

  • I don’t care for this particular ad, and I’ve never really understood ads like this. Who actually pays attention to these things? Do consumers actually go out of their way to patronize (or avoid) certain gas station chains? I always figured people just bought the cheapest gas they could find, like me.

    I don’t know how much PR campaigns like this really affect the buying habits of poorly-educated American consumers. I once heard a woman railing against Marathon oil and how she would never support Hugo Chavez. Obviously she was referring to Citgo (Marathon is based in Texas).

    Since oil is a strategic resource, it would be great if Americans would buy up their oil from foreign nations rather than burning through our limited supply. If you ask me we should be buying it from elsewhere and pumping it into the ground here, for storage until we really need it (for example, for fighting future wars 50-100 years from now.)

    I realize that the tobacco companies were compelled to spend money on cancer research as part of the big settlement, but such a campaign makes a lot of sense for those companies. If your product is killing tens or hundreds of thousands of paying customers yearly, it’s obviously in the best interest of the company to try to keep those consumers alive as long as possible.

  • Duh, the Chevron honchos back in H-town know their target demographic of liberal yuppies commuting on the DC metro. “Gee, I need to fill up the Prius, do I buy gas from happy, earth friendly Chevron, or mean, earth-hating BP…”

    … and yes, Chevron has some sharpish business practices, including admitting to violations of the trade ban on Saddam Hussein (i.e. circumventing the UN “Oil for Food” program so Saddam could get cash while Iraqi’s starved — treason anyone?), hiring former military and government officials in the Niger delta that, shall we say, have slight genocide issues, the epic pollution of Ecuadorian oil fields for over 40 years, at their refinery in California Chevron “forgot” to mention they’d bypassed waste-water treatment and dumped tons of waste into the water table for about… er… two decades, which turned out to be one of nearly 100 Superfund sites that Chevron is responsible for.

    But other than that they do have compelling billboards.

  • I will be sanctimonious about using less energy.

  • Yes, the ad drives me crazy, because it is so vague and open-ended without proposing a goal. In economic hard times, it’s a no-brainer to “use less energy”, so everyone can self-satisfied pat themselves on the back for reusing one water bottle or avoiding one car journey, and check “be environmentally conscious” off their to-do list.

    Meanwhile to reduce the awful effects of ever-increasing levels of greenhouse gases, many scientists estimate an equitable per-person rate of energy use is 2000 Watts, (i.e. 17,520 kilowatt-hours per year of all energy use, not only electrical), which is *ONE SIXTH* of what Americans consume on average . I guarantee you will never see an energy company tack on “reduce my consumption by 83 percent” to all their sober exhortations to be green and caring and environmentally sensitive. It’s doable (Google “2000 Watt society”) but dauntingly difficult.

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