Friday, September 07, 2007

Opportunity Ads

Did you find yourself in a conversation about HACs and BOBs at last night’s art gallery opening? Didn’t think so. How about “High TAN crudes?” Not those either, huh?

Up and down every value chain, there are corners, segments and niches where the language gets arcane and the buzzwords turn mysterious. But somebody is working in these areas and that’s how these new print ads for Baker Petrolite came to be created.

The basic subject is crude oil. In the oil-refining business, operators have to control the costs of the crudes they process: the hydrocarbons that are turned into gasoline (among many other things). Crude oil streams are big cost items; so when refiners can get them, the least expensive crude oils really help margins. These are “opportunity crudes.”

They could be bottom-of-the-barrel stuff (BOBs) or high-acid crudes (HACs). They can be refined but they cause their own set of problems, like unanticipated corrosion. The cost of the crude will be lower, but the cost of refining them could be much higher unless you control the effects on your plant.
That’s the problem with opportunity: you can get a really good deal on something, but you ought to be prepared to deal with the consequences.

I’ve had an opportunity myself: to help Baker Petrolite create fractional-page ads that let refiners know and understand what the issues are – and how to be prepared. Controlling the potential damage caused by high-TAN or high metals crudes is one of the Baker Petrolite specialties.

“Be Prepared” is the main message of the ad series, in which we demonstrate one approach to conveying messages: headlines and copy say one thing while the photos portray a different but complementary theme.

Visually, we borrowed interest. We portray teamwork and partnership in challenging situations – specifically, alpine sports like ice-climbing or competitive bobsledding. Working with its customers is another Baker Petrolite specialty and we convey this with photographs. Visually, we borrowed interest.

Our copy, however, is specific: each of the ads in the series reveals a solution to the challenges of processing a particular kind of opportunity crude. The benefits are bullet-pointed.

It’s the headlines that generate the targeting in this advertising approach. Aside from appearing in specific magazines, this series is designed to (and will) attract readers who know what refining high-TAN crude, for example, entails.

Recognizing the specialized knowledge that’s involved in this niche creates “targets of opportunity” for the advertiser. No head-scratching over HACs and BOBs…just good readership.

Creating the ads was a team effort as well. Thanks to the Baker Petrolite team here and abroad for the opportunity to produce interesting work for marketing to refineries.

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