I will sometimes fill up my gas tank at a Citgo down the road, but my usage is based on its proximity to my home and the lack of traffic getting in and out of it. Not because of any preference with Citgo. On recent visits, I noticed posters Citgo has hung around the station with the slogan, “Citgo is good gas.” My question to Citgo is, what percentage of the market believes that the gas they buy at gas stations is bad?
Gas, at least from my perspective, is gas. I either get gas here or I get gas there. No matter where I buy gas I believe I already have “good.” Regular is “good,” Super is “better” and Supreme is “best.” Beyond that, the assumption is that, if I buy gas at Citgo or at BP, both make my car go. This position is even more nebulous because, differences between gas stations aside, I am not absolutely sure what the product difference is between regular, super and premium. I assume that each grade must just be a bit “gassier” than the previous.
Citgo’s ads remind me a bit of the ads by Carlsberg beer, which say, “Probably the best beer in the world.” Except Citgo’s message is void of the personality that made the Carlsberg’s ads memorable. Without personality or an interesting tone, Citgo’s message becomes unimportant. However, for “Citgo is good gas” to work, it requires changing beliefs that already exist in the market. Beliefs like, “unless the gas nozzle is rusted out or falling apart, I do not not be worry about putting it in my car.”
This is not to say that this campaign could not work. Citgo has simply chosen a harder task: Changing the beliefs of consumers who already believe they can get good gas just about anywhere. If Citgo truly is “good” gas (the implication being that others have “inferior” gas), it should take a page from Proctor and Gamble. Do side-by-side comparisons. Act like your gas is the t-shirt in a Tide commercial covered with grass stain, dirt and ketchup; then make it white again.
My suggestion however, is to drop the “good gas “ and find something more emotionally important to the market. Using an intensity that a brand can align with is a much more effective strategy than convincing consumers that their belief is wrong.