Chevron Press Release - Texaco Requested To Modify Its Ads By National Advertising Watchdog
SAN FRANCISCO, July 19, 1994 -- In the wake of a major Chevron research effort and technical challenge, Texaco has been asked to modify its gasoline ads by the National Advertising Division (NAD) of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, a national independent watchdog for advertising standards.
"Chevron is a leader in gasoline technology, so we felt we had to question Texaco's claims. We are grateful to the NAD for reviewing our concerns and pleased that our research was helpful to them in this matter," said Dave Smith, vice president of marketing for Chevron U.S.A. Products Co.
Smith added that in April, Chevron urged the major networks -- ABC, CBS and NBC -- to review Texaco's commercials, and that some were subsequently withdrawn from network TV. The networks also required Texaco to make changes in other TV commercials.
"We felt their ads were both confusing and misleading to the public," said Smith. "Unfortunately, they continued the campaign despite our repeated statements of concern to them."
Texaco in February launched a major ad campaign saying its new "CleanSystem3" gasolines are "changing what gasoline can do;" that they represent a "breakthrough in technology;" and that they offer the "highest performance" and "improved mileage." Some ads also contained the term "finally," suggesting Texaco was offering something never offered before.
"Our tests comparing Chevron's gasolines to Texaco's quickly showed many of their campaign's key claims weren't true," said Smith. "We hope that our measured steps against those claims -- and the outcomes -- will reconfirm our unsurpassed position in gasoline performance and additive technology."
The NAD mediates disputes over advertising fairness and accuracy. Though compliance with NAD rulings is voluntary, the rulings are widely respected as valid, and advertisers typically comply. If an advertiser ignores an NAD ruling, the NAD refers the case to the Federal Trade Commission.
Smith said Texaco's broad campaign has made sweeping superiority claims in connection with CleanSystem3 gasolines.
"Our tests and records showed that the deposit control performance of Texaco's newest gasolines is, at best, roughly comparable to the kind of performance Chevron gasolines have offered for many years."
"We did find that Texaco's new additive is better at deposit control than their old one, and we have no problem with them saying that CleanSystem3 is a 'breakthrough in technology' for Texaco," said Smith.
"CleanSystem3 is not -- as Texaco's ads implied -- a breakthrough for gasoline in general. Nor is it as Texaco's ads stated, 'changing what gasoline can do'."
Smith said that in addition to challenging Texaco's claims, Chevron wants to underscore what its customers already know well.
"Our gasolines, which contain our patented additive Techroline, are unsurpassed at cleaning up fuel injectors, intake valves and combustion chambers -- and in keeping them free from harmful deposits," he said.
"This helps ensure top engine performance, and that translates into optimum emissions control and maximum fuel efficiency."
"Auto manufacturers recommend using gasolines with outstanding performance in deposit control," Smith said. "In fact, the Big Three automakers all use Chevron gasolines for the 50,000-mile durability tests required for auto emissions control systems by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency."
Updated: July 1994