Thursday, September 4, 2008

Chesapeake: The New King of All Media

I was a little surprised the other day to see a two page spread in the Wall Street Journal advertising compressed natural gas for cars (CNG). Glancing over the huge ad, I was not at all surprised to see the Chesapeake Energy logo in the lower left hand corner of the ad. With all of the advertising campaigns Chesapeake has sponsored, I'm beginning to wonder if Chesapeake is an exploration and drilling company or a media and advocacy company.

Chesapeake is behind the new campaign called CNG NOW ( The site is also linked to the Pickens Plan, which promotes natural gas automobiles. The company also visibly backs The American Clean Skies Foundation and Shale.TV, along with a few other geographically specific advocacy programs. Chesapeake is positioning itself as the #1 gas producer in the US, so it makes sense that it takes the lead on media initiatives that promote natural gas.

It is good for the natural gas industry to position itself as the cleanest and least expensive fossil fuel (along with being a "home grown" product), especially given all of the advertising coal is doing ("clean coal" anybody?), but I wonder where the line is between promoting your product and ego. Ultimately, promoting natural gas use both here and as an export product is beneficial to the owners in the Haynesville Play, but I sometimes get a little uneasy with some of Chesapeake's techniques.

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