Oil Companies Advertise: Why Bother?

The concept is ridiculous, really. Let’s say that a captive market with a voracious appetite for your product exists. The demand always exceeds supply. Your main worry is the exhaustion of the supply.

In this scenario, competition is an illusion. There are more customers than existing supplies of the product sold by all the sellers. As one would expect, the price has been on an unchecked upward trend for many decades. Let us not be fooled by lengthy inflation plateaus, or economists who talk in terms of inflation over time. The simple fact is, more of us are using it faster than ever before, paying more for it than ever before, and there is less of it available than ever before.

Is it oil? Sort of. What it really is: man-made energy from finite and limited availability fuels. No others will be feasable, until these run out or become just as expensive as the alternatives [solar, wind]. Fusion? Not in our lifetimes.

Which brings us back to the original question: why advertise? Why do we see:

Marathon Oil using Richard Petty to claim their customers care about the new STP additives in their fuel [when they don’t know 20% isn’t even gasoline at all]?
If the Chevron station next door is 2 cents a gallon less, they’ll switch in a heartbeat!

Chevron, with a truly amazing ad, using far reaching philosophical and environmental statements to convince viewers that the company consists not of a corporate behemoth, just 58,000 average fuel guzzling people just like us, who take their enviromental stewardship seriously. Oh, and they drill for oil in a very efficient and respectful manner. That’s what we want, a respectful oil company. But, if the Shell station next door is 2 cents less a gallon, we’ll switch in a heartbeat!

Shell, the truly forward thinking oil company, touts their new RealEnergy program in a series of upscale magazine ads. Energy and fuel from straw, they say. Investing in the future, they claim. They say nothing about the surface of the Earth not being able to grow enough vegetable based fuel sources to replace current demands, much less increasing needs.

Are they after loyal repeat energy customers? The only nonrepeat customer is a dead one.

No, they are only shoring up their images now, while they still have one to save for the history books. Well, Marathon may be after more fickle pickup truck drivers, but the others don’t want to end up like big evil Standard Oil 100 years ago. Because when the oil runs out, nobody will blame the politicians.

The torch-wielding crowds will head for the gas stations/quick marts and refineries.

Crazy Opinions Prediction: it will happen in this century. You saw it here first.

No More Oil?

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