Marketing Genius from Maple Creative


Marketing tips, observations & philosophy, plus a few rants and random musings - from those who practice, preach and teach marketing, research, advertising, public relations and business strategy.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Up for Grabs: Green Petroleum Company

Recently, the idea that the world is truly running out of oil has hit home with me. I'm not sure if this is related to the fact that I am almost 40 years old, or the fact that we haven't seen gas prices below $2.00 per gallon in longer than I can remember. Plus, I have seen the economic rise of China ... and its concurrent rise in petroleum consumption. Regardless, I now believe this to be true: we are running out of oil. And this shift in thinking has begun to influence the way that I view the world, as well as my behavior. For example, we just traded one of our V8 cars for a V6.

It is interesting to see how the major petroleum companies are racing to claim the position in the market of "The Green" brand. From the perspective of the gasoline producers, I think that "going for the green" is a smart strategy in today's global economy. Wouldn't it be smart for one of the major refiners to say, "We care the most about saving energy and producing the world's most efficient fuels." Or what if they could say, "We produce the cleanest burning gasoline fuels in the world?"

This Spring and Summer I have seen several TV spots from BP, in which an interviewer is speaking to people on the street (mostly women, in the spots that I have seen). They are talking to them about their energy and conservation concerns. BP is attempting to "own" the conversation about energy and protecting the environment.

Now, here's a quick scan of the Web space:

Exxon - nothing Green on its homepage. They don't seem to get it. Still trying to sell me the tiger and more power.

Chevron - leads with this headling on its homepage: "It took 125 years to use the first trillion barrels of oil. We'll use the next trillion in 30." Nice! They definitely get it. The direct, conversational tone of the copy is superb, such as this excerpt: "Energy will be one of the defining issues of this century, and one thing is clear: the era of easy oil is over. What we all do next will determine how well we meet the energy needs of the entire world in this century and beyond." Chevron has even posted a library of its "Real Issues" advertising - awesome!

Shell - its U.K. Web page has a mention of cleaner fuels; the U.S. page does not.

Marathon Oil - focused on sustainable value growth - nothing about conservation or the environment here. Not a mention. Not a clue!

BP - on the BP Web page, I found a unique enviromental mapping tool to provide environmental management information about every BP site. Plus, there's significant space devoted to "climate change" and "statistical review of world energy."

BP unquestionably gets it--and they back up their positioning with data and user-friendly, relevant Web apps.

So far it appears that Chevron and BP have jumped out to an early lead in this important race. Let's watch closely as it plays out.


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