7-Eleven and Citgo

October 1, 2006

Citgo’s challenge to protect its brand against those who take strong exception to its ownership by Venezuela and that country’s leader Hugo Chavez got more severe with the announcement by 7-Eleven that they were dropping their affiliation with the oil company.

What I found interesting about this is the way 7-Eleven announced it. First, they seemed to go out of their way to distance this decision from anything having to do with Venezuela, Chavez or any political motivation. Then, they go on to say that  they understand  Americans’ concerns about Chavez. Here’s the Houston Chronicle report.

This is first class dissimulation. I wonder what kind of legal negotiations went on behind the scenes that could cause such kind of communication nonsense. Did Citgo threaten legal action if 7-eleven didn’t say they weren’t doing this because of Chavez? Clearly, it makes no sense and the problem is it violates the first rule of crisis communications: do not destroy your credibility. 7-Eleven by this statement said: do not believe what we are saying because we are contradicting ourselves.

Fortunately for 7-Eleven, actions speak louder than their words. And that is always the case. This analysis by Bulldog Reporter reveals what some of the thinking may be but also how their statement confounds the analysts.

Citgo has a really big and growing problem. An apology from Chavez about his smelling the devil might still save the situation, but, I haven’t seen any pigs flying lately. And now, anything that is done, even an apology, will only bring more attention to a rapidly deteriorating situation.


One Response to “7-Eleven and Citgo”

  1. Mic Says:

    Dear PR guy,

    The Chavez/Citgo political tool has been going on for a while. But the strongman went too far with his UN rants. He sent his American friends, liberal Democrats running with that. Otherwise, we would have seen more hugs and kisses and discounted heating oil programs in Democrat voting areas. Las year, 16 U.S. congressmen voiced their approval for Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez. Representatives Barney Frank, John Conyers, Chaka Fattah, Jan Schakowsky, Jose Serrano, and others complained in a letter to President Bush that the United States was not adequately protecting Chavez against a groundswell of internal opposition to his increasingly authoritarian rule–an upsurge that might lead to his ouster. Elected to power in 1998, Lt. Col. Chavez has hijacked democracy in Venezuela and is openly moving the country toward totalitarianism. Beyond Venezuela’s borders, he celebrates, protects, and does business with terrorists.

    A day after the September 11 terrorist attacks, President Chavez declared that “The United States brought the attacks upon itself, for their arrogant imperialist foreign policy.” Chavez also described the U.S. military response to bin Laden as “terrorism,” claiming that he saw no difference between the invasion of Afghanistan and the September 11 terrorist attacks.

    While the United States considers Saddam Hussein a threat to world peace, Chavez has hailed Saddam as his “brother” and business “partner.” In the past two years Chavez has continued to cultivate relationships with the governments listed in the State Department’s roll of state sponsors of terrorism–he has been particularly vocal in his support for the Iranian regime.

    Last December a high-level Venezuelan military defector gave sworn testimony that terrorist links exist between al Qaeda and the Chavez government. The defector, President Chavez’s personal pilot, alleges that one operation involved the transfer of close to $1 million in cash to Osama bin Laden. Why isn’t this being covered by the mainstream media? See sadbastards.wordpress.com.

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