Thursday, July 16, 2009

CITGO Answer

“I’m Sue and this is my CITGO” is the first line of a new TV commercial from CITGO, one of a finely crafted series of spots from “unconventional agency” BVK in Milwaukee.

The campaign’s matching print ads (like the Key West CITGO execution on the right) don’t deliver the eye-candy enjoyment that the broadcast commercials display.

So, before anything else go to the main engine of the new CITGO campaign – the Fueling Good website – and watch these commercials. Then consider that CITGO and its advertising agency have created a strong, enjoyable answer (or the beginnings of an answer) to the corporation’s biggest challenge: Its ownership by the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.

The political activism of Venezuela’s president has caused very public difficulties for the company, whose largest retail operation is in the US…and always has been. In fact, it’s the embedded nature of the CITGO brand in America that is its saving grace and the foundation of this campaign.

Listen to the TV spots: “Every CITGO is locally owned.” You can hardly drive anywhere in 27 states without seeing CITGO service stations. Some are large and bright, some are small, even cozy. But every one offers the opportunity of a local story. A great local story.

CITGO’s E-Communications Manager Beth Palmer is also a valued, long-time colleague of mine – she’s the one that introduced me to the new TV campaign. Does “going local” work? I’d have to say that it does. Palmer even mentioned that the spot featuring Salisbury, NC, is being used by the local Tourism Authority (Rowan County, NC) because it is so strongly evocative of the town’s character and values.

That’s what CITGO and BVK have captured in these television commercials. Here are the feelings that have made local CITGO owners important participants in their communities…something that TV does so well. That these spots do so well.

One of the campaign’s lines is, “local and loyal.” I’d have argued about that last word except brand loyalty lies at the bottom of this new campaign and all its accompanying pieces. I think CITGO Marketing’s done an outstanding job. Tune in to these spots as I suggested and see what you think.

PS: You’ll find more details of the CITGO campaign in this BrandWeek article.


maryjom said...

I'm 100% with Richard on this. It's a great campaign. And, it's wonderful to know that a good colleague was an integral part of its genesis.

Susan Reeves said...

The imagery is beautiful. It has a very fresh yet kind of homey vintage quality.