Green Room

The Commercial Chevron SHOULD Be Running

posted at 10:11 am on March 1, 2011 by

Recently I’ve been seeing some commercials from Chevron running 24/7 that have just put a burr under my saddle. It’s all part of a new PR campaign on the company’s part called “We Agree.” One truly annoying example of this is the following ad which begins with a regular Joe kind of working guy in a warehouse complaining about how much money the Big Oil companies make. He’s shown in a split screen with an attractive woman who works for Chevron.

Worker: Oil companies make huge profits.
Chevron: Last year Chevron made a lot of money.
Worker: Where does it go?
[Cut to graphic saying “Oil Companies Should Put Their Profits to Good Use.”]
Chevron: Every penny and more went into bringing energy to the world.
Worker: The economy’s tough right now, everywhere.
Chevron: We pumped $21B into local economies. Into small businesses, communities, materials.
Worker: That money could make a big difference to a lot of people.
[Cut to graphic… “WE AGREE“]

Do you see what’s going on here? Between the media and the government, people have done such a great job of demonizing energy companies that they’ve now taken to running ads which effectively apologize for a business in America making a profit. And it’s not as if it’s going to do Chevron any good. As we reported previously, when the energy company donated millions of dollars worth of solar panels to several schools in California to help them “go green,” how were they rewarded? The parents and students took to the streets to protest “Chevron’s greed.”

And why would you show a regular worker demanding to know what Chevron – or any company – does with their profits? It’s a business. They exist to make a profit. That’s how capitalism works, folks. I don’t see anyone running around demanding to know what happens with the profits made by McDonald’s or Bed, Bath and Beyond. But since it’s an “evil Big Oil company” we somehow feel entitled to demand to know what they’re doing with their money.

Let me offer Chevron a nickel’s worth of free advice. Here’s the advertisement you should be running. Start out with the same worker asking the same question about where all the money goes, and then cut away to Chevron CEO John Watson in a $10K suit sitting behind a mahogany desk smoking a big ole’ stogy. He leans forward toward the camera and says the following:

WATSON: We hear you. And it’s true… we do make a lot of money. Or, at least we used to. What do we do with that money? Well, to be honest, that’s really none of your business. If you’re really that interested, what say you get some skin in the game, buy some preferred stock in our company, and then you’ll know what happens to the money because you’ll be getting some of it. That’s why it’s called a profit, hoss.

And frankly, we’re not all that concerned with what you think anymore anyway. Why? Because people like you keep electing government officials who won’t even let companies like ours get back to work producing the products we sell. You think our gasoline is expensive now? Keep it up. We’ll see how you like paying six bucks a gallon. At this rate, profits may be a thing of the past anyway.

So no, we do not agree. We’re Chevron. And frankly, we’re getting a little tired of your crap.

Run that advertisement and you’ll win more loyal fans and customers than you think.

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Comments

Aren’t a lot of private pension plans, including union pension plans invested in oil companies. Don’t they pay out based in part on the dividends they receive from oil companies?

rbj on March 1, 2011 at 10:39 AM

Jazz,
In a word, no. Your idea is not a good one. One does not make friends by insulting people. And for every angry blogger you would pick up with such a move, you would lose dozens of older people who still think that the Gov’t has their SS in a ‘lockbox’ and that listen and believe the evening news. Worst news is, those people also own stocks

MunDane68 on March 1, 2011 at 10:58 AM

I am a lowly worker in the oil industry (independent), but I get grief all the time about the HUGE profits the majors rake in.

My answer to them is that major oil companies only make about 8% profit, the same as most businesses in the U.S., so do you realize the hundreds of billions of dollars they invested/risked to make that profit. I then point to their iPhone hanging on their hip and ask if they know Apple made 50% profit on that sale. Why they don’t consider that excessive?

SoCalOilMan on March 1, 2011 at 11:23 AM

cut away to Chevron CEO John Watson in a $10K suit sitting behind a mahogany desk smoking a big ole’ stogy.

what a marvelous idea.

say, have you been giving career advice to charlie sheen lately?

sesquipedalian on March 1, 2011 at 11:38 AM

Sounds more like you are wanting to deliberately provoke people. Instructional would probably be better.

Count to 10 on March 1, 2011 at 11:53 AM

Well, I thought it was funny.

J.E. Dyer on March 1, 2011 at 11:57 AM

You’re confusing stating the plain truth with having a nose-tweaking “you all suck” attitude.

I admire your honesty, but running such an ad would probably do much more harm than good.

Dark-Star on March 1, 2011 at 11:58 AM

I’d pay to see that second ad. That was fabulous. Then have a follow up with Watson, the head of BC/BS or Humana, and a couple other vilified execs commenting about the disparity between their profit margins – 10% or less – and Google’s, which last I checked was 26%.

Laura Curtis on March 1, 2011 at 1:03 PM

We just do not have that kind of balls anymore. Go back and look at the Congressional Hearing when Howard Hughes was around. If Execs got called up to be scolded by scumbags in Congress, folks like Mr. Hughes or Tucker would shout right back at them and expose their hypocrisy. These days, when an exec gets called up to a hearing to testify, they squirm and hang their heads and act like pussies.

Opposite Day on March 1, 2011 at 1:56 PM

I’m “Big Oil”. Along with the 80,000 of my co-workers at Exxon. I get SO tired of this crap. The left demonizes our company as a monolith because they know looking at 80,000 of us, they haven’t got a chance. O’Reilly should learn that too. We have 1500 PhDs working here. They really are the smartest people in the room.

gitarfan on March 1, 2011 at 3:27 PM

I

admire your honesty, but running such an ad would probably do much more harm than good.

Dark-Star

Why? Or more importantly, why are we at this point that it would do more harm to the image of free commerce? Shouldn’t we wonder why the average US citizen, supposedly, would find it abhorrent?

Why do we conservatives have to pretend and code every damn thing for public consumption? In a way isn’t this patronizing to the average American? Isn’t there some point at which we really have to be honest with people?

I suspect the answers to these questions revolves around the fact that we on the Right are afraid of some latent populism rearing its ugly head.

I’m not sure of the proper course here but it seems like we’re tempting fate by not engaging in mature conversations about liberty, free enterprise, and the direction of our ship of state.

chimney sweep on March 1, 2011 at 5:13 PM

chimney sweep on March 1, 2011 at 5:13 PM

I understand what you’re getting at, I just think the potential ad could be worded a bit more diplomatically, that’s all. As-is people would be much more likely to reflexively think “why you little…!” than to get the point you’re trying to make.

Dark-Star on March 2, 2011 at 1:41 AM