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Monday, October 01, 2007

We now have "human energy." So either humans need to share in finding energy solutions...or Chevron is using humans as an (alternative) energy source.

Logochevronhome_3 I just wouldn't want you fine folks to think that Chevron's "Human Energy" platform passed my radar (it just launched on Sunday). Or that I've gone soft on chemical and technology companies going all "human." Not a chance. In fact, it's a big topic at this human's blog.

Having now covered Dow's "human element" campaign (where it seems everyone's falling for it but moi) and Cisco's "human network" (me likes!), I'm not sure about Chevron's human play.

So far there are things I like and things I don't. And I'm awaiting for them to upload their "It's the Story of Our Time" spot to YouTube (seriously, what's with the wait?). Right now you can access the commercial here. The spot for the ad is now below.

I promise to be back at you when I've collected my thoughts on it. But it's a bit of a thinker. Why? Because with Chevron, it's not just a case of changing perceptions around "we're oil but not evil;" Chevron also needs to be relevant again.

See, Chevron's brand is so very under our radar to begin with.

Unlike Dow's commercial, Chevron does not tell us how hydrogen and oxygen bond to form water (no, I just can't ever stop mocking that line of copy). But they do mention having part-time poets on their payroll (hmm...poetic energy?).

I still contend--and have for years--that BP has done the finest work in changing perceptions by running Q&As with actual humans in their spots (even tho' we know they're featuring actors it comes across authentically, and powerfully). Plus they did it before anyone else went human and didn't have to say they were going human.

The humans said it for them, dig?

Just like the witty and profoundly wise Mark Goren says in his post (back from December!) "Your organization is human? Then be it, don’t sell it."

Correction/Update: I've just found out that BP's spots feature "real people" not actors. CK's Blog regrets the error. At least I was praising BP in the process...and it just goes to show: if you wanna be human, rely on humans. Why? Because it works when they tell your story for you (or make your energy argument for you).

Here's the spot for Chevron (RSS readers go here):


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I like Tylenol's humanistic tv ad campaign, with stories of their workers and how they care.

Sounds a bit like Soylent Green. Unfortunately for Chevron, "Human Energy" isn't a real tag line because it doesn't mean anything. Is Amoco or Shell quaking behind their boardroom doors at being painted into a corner by "Human Energy"? Somehow I doubt it.

Chevron is under the radar here in the northeast, but it's big elsewhere with lots of gas stations.

I didn't have a problem with ad, by the way.

@CK: I know the creatives who do the BP work - those are real people, not actors.

Your confusion is not the least bit surprising. The ad industry has been awful about trying to pass actors off as real people and as a result the assumption is that almost all "real people" in spots are actually actors.

@Toad: Will you do me two favors please? Will you let the creatives know that I've been raving about the BP spots for at least 4 years. And the music/scoring is perfect.

Also, please get them to upload at least 3 of the spots onto YouTube. BP makes me register and that's BS as I've so many times wanted to use them as a "good" example. And who doesn't want to be a "good example" on CK's blog?

It's interesting to see these movements. I think that changing the perception of both companies will take more than ads. Big oil has to take repeated public actions to better humanity and gauge less if perceptions are going to change.


I agree with Geoff. BP and Chevron both have lots of dirty laundry stuffed into their closets. Still, good post and thanks for sharing.

Speaking of dirty laundry - Chevron's business partnership is one of the Burmese military junta's largest sources of revenue. All this talk about the power of human energy while Chevron remains silent on the issue of human rights.


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