Ad Space – Chevron Tries Reverse Psychology

You are now entering Ad Space, a realm of commercials, brought before us so we might examine how they work, and discuss why we both love and hate them so. So it is written …

The Product:
Chevron oil corporation

The Promotion:

The Pitch:
We’re like the Lorax for dinosaurs.

I want to highlight this commercial for two reasons.

First is the sheer bizarreness of an oil company producing a commercial that tells people to use less oil. Of course, it makes more sense when you realize that this ad is from the 1970’s, a time of widespread oil shortages, when cars would be lined up around the block at gas stations, wanting to get the small amount of gasoline they had before it all ran out.

In that context, an ad telling people to buy more gasoline would be in fantastically poor taste. So Chevron instead went the opposite route, encouraging people to be mindful of oil’s increasing scarcity, and to practice conservation. The unspoken message being that Chevron is the socially conscious oil company, so when you do need a spot of gas, shouldn’t they be the ones you go to?

That unusual sales pitch is one reason I decided to feature this ad. The other? This commercial is freaking gorgeous.

Not only is the animation incredibly fluid, it delights in having figures stretch and distort and morph into other things. There’s always something moving and changing in expressive ways; something as simple as a car driving down the road can keep your rapt attention, waiting to see what it’ll turn into next. Add in some bizarre or whimsical design decisions (frothing bubble of dinosaurs, rabbit planes with rainbow jet trails) and it’s just fascinating to look at.

Forget all the stuff about oil companies and conservation, and this is still a damn fine piece of animation.