FresYes: A pat on the head not to be ignored

California farmers seem to receive more than their share of kicks in the tail, but they can and should acknowledge gratefully one recent pat on the head.

Strangely, it has come from giant fuel and chemical company Chevron, a California native in its own right. Its series of colorful commercials running on evening network television for months now tastefully compliments Fresno County in particular for its agricultural productivity, its “down home” acceptance and use of fossil fuel energy.

Granted, television commercials are not in the category of “viewing favorites,” with apps sometimes built-in to skip or eliminate them. But, once in a while, one comes along that breaks the barrier, and simply influences viewers with its easy style and no-nonsense approach. Older viewers may remember the Coke commercial of the ‘70s that created a song sung, hummed and whistled throughout the world for endless months. It asked for the opportunity to give the world a song, which it did.

Chevron’s more recent and more localized advertising effort doesn’t ask for anything. It just recognizes the hard work and dedication of workers, some of them farmers, and other citizens for maximizing the productive capacity of Fresno County.

Expensive aerial photography emphasizes the production of agricultural crops as well as the refinement and availability of Chevron energy. Drones circling the Chevron facility in Coalinga subtly emphasize the facility’s size and capacity, implying the strategic importance of the city and community, a welcome contrast for its image as home to a penitentiary.

While the entire advertising campaign can be regarded as image building, it has achieved several positive side benefits, not the least of which is the enormous agricultural strength of Fresno County. The impression it leaves is that every citizen appreciates the productivity, even George, the gas station operator, who asks not to be forgotten.

No less appreciated is the teenage girl, probably Hispanic, photographed carrying an armload of grapes, suggesting that her work location be identified as “FresYes County.” Somewhere in the panoply of photo shots, the over-the-road gateway sign at the south edge of Fresno is captured, identifying the city as “the best little city in the U.S.A.”

While the country’s agricultural bounty is only part of the commercial’s positive message, it is unmistakably conveyed. It’s a “feel good” message. While it may not leave you humming a tune, it deposits a positive image of “FresYes County” and its hard-working citizens and farmers. It’s presented as a happy place

The subtle, tasteful and recognizable value of this predominantly agricultural area created in the commercial series is unmistakable. It doesn’t boast, but its high-quality presentation leaves a good taste in your mouth if you’re committed to watching rather than zapping it with your app.

The soft sell approach used by Chevron is so rare among commercials that a viewer hardly realizes it is being applied. It is comfortable.

Without making this a critique of television commercials generally, it is worth noticing the comparison with some that offer comfort, vacation bliss or incomparable sights and sounds, often with loud background and challenging or even threatening language.

Chevron establishes itself in this commercial as a vital part of the production and pride of the Central Valley. It makes no demands, simply suggests that viewers might do well to place themselves in the same venue – and enjoy it with pride, without actually moving to Coalinga.

Don Curlee
Don Curlee is your man when it comes to Agriculture. His Ag Alert column in our publication is sure to inform you on what you need to know when it comes to the agricultural industry.