Commercials While You Pump?

Written by Evan Schuman
April 15th, 2007

A company called Pump Media has apparently determined the source of unhappiness coming from Americans pumping gas. The uninformed thought it involved the high price of gasoline and the evaporation of service-station services such as window washing and oil-checking.

No, Pump Media got together with Chevron and concluded that the source of sorrow was a consumer deprivation of television commercials while pumping gas. Fret no more, America, because these two altruistic groups have lept to your defense. They have joined Chevron’s video-at-the-pump program where, according to a joint news release, they will be “entertaining motorists while they refuel” while running for the captive pumpers “targeted, high-impact and meaningful audio and video content.”

“No, no,” Chevron officials wanted to say, “no need to thank us.”

Sarcasm aside–it is so difficult to write this one without sarcasm–the effectiveness of this campaign will ultimately depend on the discipline of Chevron and its advertisers to provide true content (informational and entertainment) and not merely ads. PumpMedia President Peter Tawil said it was a way to promote “convenience-store sales while delivering the latest news, entertainment segments, and weather updates to refueling motorists.”

How localized and customized will this get? And is that localized by Zip Code, customized by that customer’s buying history or both?

If the operators of this kind of service can hold their sales tongue, this could work, especially if the content has legitimate news coverage and truly localized weather forecasts. A campaign whose effectiveness relies on the discipline and integrity of oil company marketing execs? Let’s just say that if they start pushing Masterpiece Theater out of the gas pumps?an infamous oil industry sponsorship?this just might work.


One Comment | Read Commercials While You Pump?

  1. bbrewer Says:

    Take a look at the Pump Media site and it is difficult to take this effort seriously. The idea itself makes sense, but to actually deliver relevant ads and compelling content they will need to partner with some more “advanced” companies. The first-step they could take would be to offer support for flash video, rather than just mpeg1,2 and avi. Otherwise, they will have to come up with most of the content themselves, and then figure out how to make it relevant. Relevance has to be based on something better than zipcodes.

    These guys need some “heavy-hitting” partnerships to make this happen, but someone will get it done if they do not.


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