Ad Nut
Apr 22, 2021

Petroleum company subtly disses electric vehicles

A new campaign for Australia's Ampol, by Saatchi & Saatchi and iProspect, stresses the nation's vast distances to make a case that the company's petrol is "the fuel that gets you there".

Petroleum company subtly disses electric vehicles

Ad Nut eagerly awaits the day that oil companies are as extinct as the dinosaurs and other species whose decomposed bodies eventually transformed into the fossil fuels that they unearth and sell.

This hope is all the more fervent today, as another Earth Day arrives without much hope that you humans will reverse the climate crisis you've dragged all of the planet's creatures into.

But, until the happy day oil companies die, people need to get around, petroleum still powers a lot of vehicles, and therefore fossil-fuel companies have the right to advertise their wares. 

So here's a new campaign that marks the relaunch of Australian oil producer Ampol, which was formerly known as Caltex Australia. The campaign launched yesterday—so at least the company had the sense to not launch a new oil-company campaign on Earth Day. 

As much as Ad Nut reviles the continued existence of petroleum companies, one sort of has to admire the craftiness of the 'far and wide' messaging in the brand's new film. 

The work is very careful never to level criticism outright. But by stressing Australia's vast distances and showing lots of gas-powered vehicles that are not passenger cars—capped by the tagline 'The fuel that gets you there'—the film delivers a subtext about the shortcomings of electric vehicles.

And sadly, the argument is actually valid. For now at least. Without enough electricity infrastructure in place, and without electric options for many industrial vehicles, petroleum is still necessary.

But it's a necessary evil, and we all know that. Yet the ad manages to flip the necessity of fossil fuels over into a reason for appreciating the company for providing them. And thus, along with the return to patriotic branding ("Australia's own"), the company and its agencies (Saatchi & Saatchi and iProspect) have found a way to advertise a seriously unpopular product in a way that more or less succeeds.

Anyway, Ad Nut supposes that this approach is better than that of some other oil companies, which cynically present themselves as eco-warriors valiantly striving to evolve the energy industry and save the planet, while actually doing nothing of the sort.

In a release, Ampol's chief brand officer Jenny O’Regan says: 

The Ampol brand will evoke fond memories for many Australians, and the fresh modern mark for our company will connect it with a new generation of customers. We are committed to again making Ampol Australia’s most loved and admired fuel brand.

Ok then. But Ad Nut suspects you won't make much headway with younger consumers, who by and large are horrified and mad at what their elders have done to their planet. And Ad Nut hopes that "most loved and admired fuel brand" will soon be nothing at all worth bragging about.

The campaign has launched nationally on broadcast TV, along with a large multichannel campaign, via iProspect, that includes outdoor, cinema, radio, online display, social and video. Ampol service stations will be transitioning to the new branding through to the end of 2022.


Client: Ampol Australia
Executive General Manager: Joanne Taylor
Chief Brand Officer: Jenny O’Regan
Head of Brand and Fuel Marketing: Noni Guest
Brand Development and Sponsorship Manager: Stefanie Favaloro

Creative Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi Australia

Chief Creative Officer: Mike Spirkovski

Strategy Partner Sydney: Iona Macgregor
Head of Planning: Graham Sweet

Creative Director: Piero Ruzenne
Creative Director: Flavio Fonseca
Art Director: Celeste Watson

Copywriter: Mac Wright

Group Account Director: James Tracy-Inglis

Senior Account Director: Fanny Bersagol
Senior Business Manager: Izabela Gustowski
Senior Broadcast Producer: Elizabeth Nunan
Senior Integrated Producer: Holly De Roy
Senior Digital Producer: Danny Marston

Film Production House: Good Oil 

Director: JH Walker
DOP: James Brown

Executive Producer: Helen Morahan
Executive Producer: Sam Long

Editor: Bernard Garry @ The Editors
Post Production: Stuart Kadzow
Production Design: Tom Churchill Brown
Music: The Go-Betweens “Streets Of Your Town”

Photography Production House: Flint

Photographer: Jonathan May

Assistants: Felipe Neves, Dan Hilburn & Gerald Diel

Executive Producer: Rachel Henderson & Tim Berriman

Photography Retouching: Limehouse

Sound House: Squeak E. Clean Studios
Sound Design: Simon Lister
Head of Production: Emma Hodge
Licensing Manager: Chelsea Ramsden

Media: iProspect
Client Partner: Jason Smith
National Head of Investment; Ken Lam
Strategy Director: Tania Virkel
Senior Client Manager: Flo Horwich
Client Manager: Michael Myers-Snyders
Content Partnerships Director: Jessica Humphry’s
Senior Client Manager: Sydney Church
Client Executive: Millie Thompson
Client Executive: Lauren Haslett
Associate: Hamish Rose

Ad Nut is a surprisingly literate woodland creature that for unknown reasons has an unhealthy obsession with advertising. Ad Nut gathers ads from all over Asia and the world for your viewing pleasure, because Ad Nut loves you. You can also check out Ad Nut's Advertising Hall of Fame, or read about Ad Nut's strange obsession with 'murderous beasts'.


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