advertising and other stuff. no, really.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Like the other 12 gas stations on
the street.

Saw a new campaign out for Citgo over the weekend similar to this one and did a double take. Local. Loyal. Sounds like the weather promo on any News 12 station: Live. Latebreaking. Local!

I actually liked the line more energy for people, as it moves beyond simply being about gas for cars to the bigger idea of helping people do life stuff, but then there’s the baggage associated with the brand, especially the flak they’ve taken for their free oil offer.

Add to the mix this whole not too many people like Chavez thing and I’m not sure this is the right positioning. Forget that his state-owned Petroleums of Venezuela has only controlled the entire company since 1990. (Although the company was originally founded in Oklahoma, our collective short memory thing kicks in when fear of Commies hysteria takes over.)

More than that though, gas is a commodity people buy based on price and not much else.

If I had any loyalty in the past to one brand over another, it’s long gone. (Occasional urban mythologies of station X putting water in the gas notwithstanding.)

Nowadays, if the station happens to have a decent convenience store attached, that’s as good as any a reason to go there. It’s something that Marathon touches on in their latest spot. Based originally in Ohio and now in Texas, at least their local theme passes muster, mister!

Another problem with the loyalty angle: Stations are literally on top of each other now. If I missed the turn for one, there’s another one 500 feet up on the left.

Loyalty goes out the window during a crisis too. During last summer’s crunch, it was “Who has it the cheapest?” If the dude across town was charging .20¢ a gallon less, that’s where you headed.

So much for local loyalty.

(Image via.)


Brushback said...

Ha! We've got these Citgo billboards around where I live, too, and when I first started seeing them I thought the same thing-- "Which gas stations AREN'T being run by someone from the local community?" Who's running the other gas stations-- people from Mars?

Jamie Scheu said...

The Citgo billboard on Rt 1 just north of Boston features a kind-looking elderly couple... and PALM TREES in the background. Local? Really?