Critics reacted to Chevron’s new ad campaign promoting itself as an oil company that supports renewable energy with an online spoof.
The new Chevron advertising campaign uses large headlines with statements like, “Oil companies need to get real” and “Oil companies should support the communities they’re a part of.” The fake ads use a similar layout but make statements like “Oil companies should stop endangering life” and “Oil companies should clean up their messes.”
Chevron launched the campaign with five full-page advertisements in major newspapers. The large headlines emphasizing responsibility on the part of the company are accompanied by smaller text discussing how Chevron fulfills such responsibilities, as well as the comment, “We agree,” made by various Chevron employees. The fake ads mirror the layout, with a primary image, main headline, the statement “We agree” made by environmental activists, and accompanying text like “We all know that carbon emissions are endangering our collective future. That’s why we need strict emissions limits, and strong rules governing oil companies like our own. There’s still hope.” Crafted by the Yes Men, who have played similar pranks on entities like Dow Chemical and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the spoofs were aided with information and images by the organizations Amazon Watch and Rainforest Action Network.
Chevron said it plans to continue the campaign despite the prank and accompanying criticism, launching television ads in addition to the print ads. “This campaign is about having a real conversation about energy issues and about finding common ground where we can move forward, and it’s disappointing that there are groups that are interested in attacking Chevron and not engaging in a rational conversation,” said Morgan Crinklaw, a Chevron spokesman. The fake ads show “that there are groups out there that are not interested in moving forward responsibly together.”
To see one of Chevron’s ads, click here.
To see the fake ads, click here.
Why it matters: While Chevron tries to downplay the spoof and continue its campaign, the Yes Men have stepped up their own campaign by launching a contest to create more satirical ads, including television pieces. “Help us keep Chevron’s campaign on the skids!” proclaims Yes Men’s Web site, with instructions on how to send in video or print ad spoofs. The Yes Men have vowed to keep their ads in the spotlight by releasing consumer-created spoofs to the media, offering a “big prize” to the winner of the best ad, and encouraging those crafting submissions to post them on social media sites.