CONSUMER CONVENIENCE SPURS TEXACO OVERHAUL;BRAND-BUILDING EFFORT STRETCHES FROM STATIONS TO AD MESSAGE

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Texaco is launching a major brand-building initiative as it moves to redesign all its service stations worldwide.

The effort, emphasizing both quality and convenience, will focus mainly on two categories of customers-working mothers and young, higher-mileage drivers.

To satisfy these consumers, Texaco is undertaking an overhaul of its retail outlets as well as implementing new employee training programs and installing innovative retail technology.

CUSTOMER SERVICE KEY

"On the convenience side, we were concerned we had not done a good enough job of making the necessary changes to satisfy today's consumers," said John Price, VP-marketing, Texaco Refining & Marketing. "Consumers' awareness of good customer service experiences has been heightened by other purveyors of goods and services, and we felt the buying experience at Texaco had to be comparable to that of other industries."

Right now, two outlets in Houston and Atlanta have been remodeled and training completed to fit the new Texaco concept to others in Phoenix; Kansas City, Mo.; and Seattle. The stations have brighter colors, more lighting and automated systems at gas pumps and inside retail stores. Texaco has 14,000 U.S. stations.

The gas marketer is studying technology that would let consumers order fast-food at the pump. Texaco said it currently has partnerships with more than 20 food franchises.

Though the major marketing push will not begin until 1997, when more new stations will be finished, Texaco plans to test ads from Bates USA, New York and Irving, Texas, in the first markets.

NEW AD MESSAGE

As it implements the brand-building globally, Texaco will continue to run product-specific ads for CleanSystem 3 gas. But a transitional spot breaking this month will carry a convenience message.

The convenience spot, filmed at the new station in Houston, features automotive racing celebrities Mario and Michael Andretti as well as former Chicago Bears coach Mike Ditka. It will run in spot markets.

Texaco separately will be promoting its involvement in Major League Baseball and the 1996 Olympics.

Once again, Texaco is the title sponsor of the all-star fan balloting. Radio and TV spots supporting the sponsorship are running now, featuring New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner and Jason Alexander, whose "Seinfeld" character works for Mr. Steinbrenner on the TV series.

Texaco spotlights its motor oil in the Havoline Dream Team Basketball promotion.

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