“Talk Crude” Campaign: A Case Study

01 Sep 2023


Running a successful public awareness campaign that inspires positive change and drives action is a rewarding, though challenging, marketing endeavor. If you’re interested in creating an awareness campaign and need some inspiration of your own, the case study below is sure to help you unearth some ideas.

In 1975, the U.S. passed the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA) to, as President Gerald Ford put it,  “make us invulnerable to cutoffs of foreign oil.” With the exception of a small amount to Canada, the EPCA banned the export of American crude oil.

With technological advances like “fracking” (hydraulic fracturing) boosting U.S. production and stockpiling a surplus, the EPCA became antiquated and unnecessary. The problem was that most people didn’t know the U.S. still wasn’t allowed to export crude oil.

But Canary, a small oilfield services company, did know—and they wanted to get the ban lifted.

However, as a business-to-business facing company without any expertise in government affairs, Canary needed a strong team to help them set the course for their public awareness campaign. The Writers For Hire (TWFH) was prepared to help them do so.

Our team provided expertise and support to help Canary:

  • Establish the objectives of the campaign.
  • Come up with the name of the campaign (“Talk Crude”) and a provocative campaign moniker (#TalkCrude).
  • Create various types of content aimed at increasing awareness about the ban.
  • Appropriately tailor content to different audiences—including internal employees, external customers, the general public, and government leaders.
  • Increase interest in revoking the crude oil export ban.
  • Rally the public’s support for lifting the ban via petition signatures.

About Our Client

With over 200 employees working in locations scattered around the U.S., Canary, LLC is one of the country’s largest independently held oilfield service companies that offers comprehensive oilfield drilling and production services.

Since its founding in 1984, Canary has been committed to making a positive difference in its communities and the industry. The company’s values in corporate responsibility and ethical integrity help guide efforts as Canary works to unleash America’s energy, one well at a time.

In 2014, specifically, Canary’s main goal was to get the U.S.’s crude oil export ban lifted. So, they sought out The Writers For Hire to create an aggressive campaign that would help them do so.

Canary and The Writers For Hire

Canary needed an experienced team to help them raise awareness of the export ban, garner interest in the campaign, and gather support for lifting the ban.

As a Houston-based copywriting firm that works at the heart of the oil and gas industry, The Writers For Hire was a perfect fit for the job. With decades of experience in the oil and gas industry, our team was ready to #TalkCrude and maximize the campaign’s reach and success.

What We Did for Our Client

Canary first came to TWFH for help creating an awareness campaign focused on American energy. The result was the edgy #TalkCrude campaign, with Canary’s CEO Dan Eberhart as the face of it. While TWFH ran the bulk of the campaign over a few months in 2014, our team helped Canary throughout the multi-year operation.

Our team worked to:

  • Raise awareness.
  • Rank high on search engines.
  • Elevate Canary’s online presence.
  • Generate traffic.
  • Increase engagement levels.
  • Deliver petition signatures.

Created Promotional Content and Materials

TWFH created a wide array of content types to help promote the campaign. This content consisted of:

  • Speeches
  • Presentations
  • Ghostwritten blogs, editorials, case studies, and white papers
  • A website
  • Campaign landing pages
  • A petition
  • Social media posts and conversations
  • Ads on social media
  • Pay-per-click (PPC) advertisements
  • A wallscape
  • 15 original visual and video pieces
  • A 250-page book about energy policy

Our team strategically repurposed the extensive amount of #TalkCrude material produced throughout the campaign to help provide content and editorial assistance for Mr. Eberhart's book, The Switch.

This enabled us to glean double the mileage—and thus double the value—out of our copy.

TWFH also helped Canary promote the wrapping of a #TalkCrude wallscape, which proved to be an incredibly effective tactic for educating the public about the crude oil export ban and generating interest in its repeal.

Promoted Awareness and Support

To maximize the reach and impact of the #TalkCrude message, TWFH team aggressively worked on behalf of Canary to put the content in front of as many people as possible by:

  • Improving Canary’s online presence.
  • Posting content across Canary’s profiles and the website.
  • Engaging with others on social media.
  • Promoting the petition.
  • Integrating paid advertisements.
  • Dominating keywords search rankings.
  • Asking credible sources to also post our content.

The Results

Our efforts to raise awareness of Canary’s #TalkCrude campaign and drive users to its promotional content proved to be extremely successful—both from a data perspective and a political one:

On December 16, 2015, the U.S. repealed the ban on crude oil exports! Canary’s #TalkCrude campaign was a success!

Here’s how TWFH helped Canary increase public awareness of the ban, rally support for the #TalkCrude campaign, and secure petition signatures:

On behalf of Dan Eberhart and Canary, we worked to get their content published in as many places as possible. One editorial published in The Hill was even mentioned as ‘pivotal’ for getting the Republican Caucus in Congress to take repeal efforts seriously.

We also significantly boosted Mr. Eberhart’s online presence and engagement levels, which drastically widened #TalkCrude’s reach and impact—and achieved petition signatures.

One of TWFH’s infographics, called America Bans Free Trade, was especially
effective in drawing attention to Canary’s #TalkCrude campaign.

Additionally, when users looked up certain keywords, TWFH ensured that Canary held a dominant ranking in the search results. This boosted brand and campaign awareness, which, in turn, helped drive users to the website and increase traffic and engagement.

The Reward

Ultimately, TWFH played a major role in the #TalkCrude campaign’s success. With our team’s help, Canary won the 30th Annual American Marketing Association (AMA) Crystal Award in 2016 under the “Social Responsibility” category!

Our client knew of TWFH’s deep-rooted experience in the oil and gas industry, and that was expertise they were keen to capture for the #TalkCrude campaign. Working with our team means working with writers who:

  • Were once freelance oil and gas reporters.
  • Are marketing professionals.
  • Have technical writing and communications experience.
  • Held in-house positions with major energy companies.
  • Have degrees in related fields such as geology and civil/environmental engineering.

By partnering with TWFH, Canary gained an ambitious team ready and determined to help the #TalkCrude public awareness campaign excel and thrive.


Coralee Bechteler 

Related Content

  • 0 Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *