Chevron continues with ad campaign despite spoofs

SAN RAMON, CA: Chevron launched a new advertising campaign on Monday, but the company has been plagued with spoof websites since the launch.

SAN RAMON, CA: Chevron launched a new advertising campaign on Monday, but the company has been plagued with spoof websites from the Rainforest Action Network and The Yes Men since the launch.

The campaign originally launched with print and TV ads, as well as PR and media relations support. An exclusive in The Wall Street Journal kicked off the media relations outreach, which also targeted energy, corporate responsibility, global health, and advertising reporters. Chevron is working with Edelman on outreach.

"The main message of the campaign was really to get people to identify and realize that there's probably more agreement on energy issues than they may have thought," said Morgan Crinklaw, external communications adviser at Chevron. The ads include quotes of what consumers want in an energy company, and the theme of the campaign: We agree.

"It's much more than philosophical," Crinklaw added. "We want to make sure that we also communicate who we are working with to address those issues." The campaign, which has its own microsite, was also introduced on Chevron's Facebook and Twitter accounts.

But around the same time as the official campaign launch, unofficial websites popped up, including a website spoofing the microsite. The groups behind the stunt targeted media outlets with fake press releases and even created a fake AdAge article that went up online.

Chevron was actually expecting something like that to happen, Crinklaw said, as these groups often target Chevron with their stunts and campaigns.

"We did not overreact to [the stunt]," he said. "We addressed it head-on, and we made sure that the media knew that it was a stunt that was being perpetrated on them." This included an official statement on Chevron's Facebook page, individual outreach to reporters, and monitoring media coverage to correct errors.

"A lot of reporters didn't appreciate it," Crinklaw added, "and from Chevron's standpoint, their stunt has gotten even more attention to the messages of the campaign."

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