10-15-07 by dugan
"It’s not what you say but what you do that matters." Oops, Chevron must not have heard its mother say that. Check out this savage AdWeek column by Joan Voight on the reception that Chevron’s new multimillion-dollar ad campaign has gotten (including from OilWatchdog), and why the critics are right. The broadcast ad’s "we’re not corporate titans" line comes in for special dissection: "ad campaigns like this are exactly how corporate titans talk to the masses." Here’s Voight’s conclusion, but it’s worth your time to read the whole thing:
"Sometimes it’s better to keep your brand profile low
and actually take actions that reinforce your message rather than
preach about your new identity.
"To Chevron: What makes you think you should be the
teacher? Perhaps a single parent who can’t afford to get her car tuned
so it uses less gas could teach you a thing or two. In a digital age in
which the online public has a channel to discuss your every move as
much as they want, it is a good idea to think twice about grabbing the
lectern. Expect pushback.
"Second, if your message is that you are not a pompous
corporate entity, then don’t act like one. Before starting such a
reputation-burnishing "educational" effort, ask yourself, "If we were
an uncaring corporation, what would we do to convince people that we
aren’t one?" Then don’t do that. Chevron is telling us it is not Big
Oil, but then acts in precisely the way a greenwashing Big Oil outfit
"All brands, including oil brands, should remember a
key communications fundamental, since they are now in a give-and-take
conversation: Honest people don’t tell you they are honest, visionaries
don’t need to tell you they have vision and caring organizations don’t
keep telling you how much they care.
"Expensive ads won’t convince people how fair and
reasonable you are; such efforts only underscore that you have plenty
of money to spend on expensive ads."