The coal industry is not the only one that has decided that it is worthwhile to spend serious money on focused advertising that plays on the patriotic feelings that Americans have while watching its athletes compete against those from other countries. I have also noticed a series of well produced ads talking about the benefits that can come from increased domestic drilling for oil and gas.
The commercials provide powerful messages about the potential abundance of reliable energy from domestic sources, about the improvements in technology that reduce oil well impact, the improvements in off-shore drilling that allow a single platform to tap multiple wells, some located 40 miles away, and about the large contributions to the federal, state and local budgets that might result with more domestic production.
At least one of the commercials points to a potential total of $1.7 TRILLION dollars in government receipts, though it does not happen to mention the time frame involved. One even mentions the need for energy from all sources. The subtle message provided by the photos in the background while that comment is being made make it seem like wind and solar are as important to our energy mix as oil and gas and that nuclear does not even exist as an option.Nearly all of the end with giving credit to “The People of America’s Oil and Gas Industry”. They also hope that United States citizens will have less concerns about imported oil and gas if they assume that all of North America, including Mexico and Canada, is theirs to exploit.The basic message is that America has a vast resource base of oil and natural gas that should be exploited. There are also a number of messages using “people on the street” commentarythat are aimed at generating significant resistance to the notion of raising oil and gas taxes. (This one provokes some critical thinking, considering the credit that is taken in other commercials about the government receipts that can come from increased oil and gas development.)
Just in case you are watching the commercials from the couch and have not yet invested in an HD television set, I think you might find it interesting to see the fine print in grey that appears at the bottom of the ad. That’s right, “The People of America’s oil and gas industry is a pseudonym for the American Petroleum Institute, a trade association that includes many of the very largest multinational corporations in the world. It is the same organization whose members thinknothing of allowing oil and gas prices to increase at rates that are far higher than would ever be imposed through taxation and banking the resulting profits from selling oil and gas produced in already existing wells at the elevated market prices.Don’t get me wrong – that is not an unusual or even incorrect business behavior, but it is not entirely as patriotic or consumer friendly as the ads imply. I am still waiting to see more energy related commercials, but not holding my breath waiting for anything from the nuclear industry promoting its patriotic benefits for the future of America. The industry seems to prefer silence; perhaps that is because so many of the people involved are those geeks that sat quietly in the classroom, did their homework and earned good grades for getting the right answers, even if they were not the most popular people in the school.