September 28, 2007
CONTACT: Judy Dugan, 310-392-0522, x305, or cell: 213-280-0175
Chevron’s $15 Million Ads, $15 Billion Stock Buyback Are P.R. Greenwashing, Stockholder Appeasement, Says Watchdog Group;
Oil Giant Touts Necessity of Oil for "Foreseeable Future," Yet Would Cut Back Refinery Expansion
Santa Monica, CA — Chevron today announced a gauzy, Hollywood-slick
$15-million ad campaign to improve its public image, a day after
announcing a $15-billion buyback of its own stock. The investments are
two poles of a corporate strategy to keep oil-related profits high
while rejecting real commitment to a renewable energy future, said the
Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights and its OilWatchdog.org
The ad campaign launches Sunday with a warm and fuzzy
2.5-minute ad on the CBS "60 Minutes" show, declaring that "for the
foreseeable future, our lives demand oil."
"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," said
Judy Dugan, research director of OilWatchdog.org. "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."
In an interview with the Associated Press in April, Peter J.
Robertson, Chevron’s vice chairman, said in response to a question
about possible new U.S. refineries, "Why would I invest in a refinery
when you’re trying to make 20 percent of the gasoline supply ethanol?"
Robertson was referring to a Bush administration plan to encourage an
increase in the use of ethanol in the fuel supply to that level by
Much of the new Chevron ad is quick-cut shots of smiling people
and happy families apparently employed by Chevron. It is obviously
intended to portray Chevron as a happy member of the world family, said
FTCR, rather than a defendant in multi-billion-dollar pollution
lawsuits brought by peasants in Ecuador and by Nigerians over alleged
human-rights violations, said the nonpartisan, nonprofit FTCR.
The new ads are a reversal from the most recent Chevron
campaign, called "Real Issues," which featured cluttered executive
desktops filled with sticky notes opaquely referring to oil company
demands for freedom from regulation.
"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 $3.00 again and no renewable alternatives at
neighborhood Chevron pumps, motorists will have a hard time swallowing
Chevron’s return to a public-image campaign is a more
expensively produced rehash of an older campaign titled "People Do,"
"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
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