[chinese blood, irish heart] - DEFUNCT: Media Watch: Oil companies' advertising

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Media Watch: Oil companies' advertising

Oil giants ExxonMobil and Shell have been dishing out a series of new TV ads aimed at projecting themselves as more humane and down to earth. Shell's ones are more longer - the one I've seen so far is like a day in the life of a Dutch guy - who works for Shell - with a 'problem' as to how to extract natural gas from an even surface... bla bla bla... then he sees his troubled son using his upside down straw to suck milkshake out of his glass. Shell's aim? To let the audience perceive Shell through this enigmatic Dutch guy who's just like any other normal person - with a 'problem.'
ExxonMobil's involves a couple of their apparent employees - the good looking ones anyway - talking about how the company's working on more efficient modes of transport or energy resources and finishing off with a spot of pride by annoucing: "I'm xx, and I work for ExxonMobil."
BP, or British Petroleum, has subtly changed its image to "Beyond Petroleum". Perhaps a bit too hasty at this stage.
It's easy to understand how they're branching into this mode of advertising as global warming is quickly becoming a common consensus around the world. This is also follows the phenomenon that is "greenwashing" where energy corporations spin themselves as reborn saviours of the environment etc. While some of their practices and products do go a certain way in helping the environment, their advertising versus their actual commitment is quite staggering: Shell's "Shell Renewables" division only gets 0.6 percent of the annual budget. And we've all heard how ExxonMobil (or Esso) contributed to George W Bush's presidential campaign over US$1 billion - to a man who scorns the Kyoto Protocol and has deep roots to the oil industry. ExxonMobil continues to be the biggest earner of all the energy corporations with cash balances of more than US$30 billion and has better relations with host governments.