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14 October 2008, 6:00 AM

Chevron has long been a leader in image advertising, spending an immense amount of money on print and television ads explaining to the public just how utterly wonderful the company is. Years ago, their tag line was "People Do," in answer to rhetorical questions like, "Do people really care what happens to our precious wetlands? People do." These tended to appear when the company was angling for permission to drill wells in sensitive marshes.

Well, the company is back with a series that is running on public tv (I keep seeing them right before The News Hour), where they'd rather not be called ads, I guess.

The ads may be running on commercial networks as well. Many are viewable on Youtube; here's one. Anyway, the new series has a serious male voice talking about how the world population is growing and the demand for energy is growing and we need to tap every possible source—oil, coal, nuclear, gas, geothermal, solar, wind, conservation, the works. Chevron claims to be involved in all these enterprises, which explains the rationale for the ad, I guess—more profit potential for the company.

It perplexes me a little, however, what the immediate purpose for this campaign might be. Does Chevron anticipate new regulations that might limit its freedom (we can but wish)? Something else? They're spending plenty on these ads and they must expect something in return.

Any ideas?

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