The story in London's Independent newspaper last week was unequivocal: Chevron has been fined more than $8 billion for causing an environmental disaster called by some "the Amazon's Chernobyl" (it has also been fined another billion for reparations). Texaco caused the problem and fought tooth and nail for nearly a decade to avoid paying on the lawsuit. It became Chevron's fight when it bought Texaco in 2001, and the company has already vowed to appeal the verdict. Its alleged victims are now preparing for the next round.
This is the same Chevron that is running a glossy "We Agree" branding campaign that claims it's in a conversation with people about saving the planet and, oddly enough, supporting communities.
Every CMO should take note of this dichotomy: Both stories are true when presented separately. It's only when you put them together -- which is exactly what I think consumers are going to begin to do more of -- that they add up to one big lie. So you need to make sure your brand isn't risking this sort of conflict.
That’s right, according to Advertising Age it’s “one big lie” from Chevron on its ubiquitous “Human Energy” ad campaign. Lobbying interests that have to lie to make their point have weak points to make. Chevron might have a lot of money in its pile of chips, but it still has a very weak hand.