Friday, June 20, 2008

The bogeyman

Facing the toughest political climate in a generation, the oil industry is using a barrage of advertisements to deflect anger over $4 a gallon gasoline prices.

Exxon Mobil has been particularly aggressive, running televised spots during the NBA Finals and network morning talk shows, and buying large print ads in the U.S. and Europe. Chief executive Rex Tillerson appears in one of the ads, which began running earlier this month, discussing the company's goal of caring for the environment as it provides energy to the world. Ads from other oil companies hit on similar themes: investment in alternative fuels and technology required to produce oil these days.

Exxon's ads are part of a growing effort by the industry to counter a political backlash against rising oil prices and global-warming worries. Oil companies have traditionally been the bogeyman for consumers during times of rising prices, with ad campaigns often employed to soften the industry's image.


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