Annoying advertisements. They’re always popping up when you least want them to.
I picked up the new April issue of The Atlantic yesterday, all excited to read about the “Secret Fears of the Rich” (more on this later, no doubt), “… And the Upstarts Revitalizing American Journalism,” and “The Great Mom vs. Mom Parenting Debate.” Yet, en route to the Table of Contents, my sensibilities were affronted by one of those confoundingly aggravating Chevron ads, this one reading: “Oil companies should support the communities they’re a part of. We agree.”
Ugh. So much for a peaceful reading experience.
Chevron, with its history of multiple human rights violations, is attempting to rebrand itself as the nice, caring big oil company (not like those folks at BP, right?), who “agree” that “Oil companies should put their profits to good use,” and “It’s time oil companies get behind the development of renewable energy,” and my personal favorite, “Oil companies need to get real,” which would be funny if it weren’t so sickening.
But of course, the last thing an ad from an big oil company would be is real. “We’re gonna make pretending to care, the new caring,” spoof the folks over at Funny or Die, in their “Anatomy of a Greenwash” video:
“Chevron is spending tens of millions of dollars on this ad campaign because it’s easier than just making changes,” suggests an actor impersonating an actor pretending to play a bearded guy in charge of Environmental Operations for Chevron. (The spoof ads, ironically, being more real than the real ads themselves.)
What would Chevron have to change? Well, I got nearly a quarter million results for my Google search on “Chevron human rights violations.” That’s a lot that needs changing. So, maybe it is easier to spend millions of dollars on a top-of-the-line ad campaign. (After all, the ads are tax deductible, so the bottom line’s all good.)
Chevron spends close to $100 million per year on advertising, and although they haven’t disclosed the amount that this specific campaign is costing (themselves, not the sanity of the rest of us), estimates have the total at over $90 million.
If it costs Chevron $90 million to try to convince people that they want to “get real,” then what would it take for them to act with a little responsibility?