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Former Presidents Hit Big Screen Supporting Natural Gas

Six former presidents will be appearing in commercials supporting natural gas that will air in theaters before motion pictures this summer, thanks to a new advertising campaign by the American Clean Skies Foundation (ACSF), a nonprofit natural gas advocacy group.

ACSF created two versions of the commercial, which feature speeches by former presidents from both political parties. In the first commercial, Democratic presidents John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson and Jimmy Carter are featured. The second commercial shows Republicans Dwight D. Eisenhower, Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan. Carter and Nixon are seen giving speeches on energy issues of the time.

Both commercials then segue to President Obama's State of the Union address this year (see Daily GPI, Jan. 26). Specifically, Obama is shown stating "the price of a barrel of oil is now one of the most dangerous weapons in the world," and also "we have a supply of natural gas that can last America nearly 100 years."

Gregory Staple, CEO of ACSF, told NGI that the commercials would initially be shown before motion pictures at Landmark Theaters in Houston, Los Angeles, New York and Washington, DC.

"It's an initial run depending upon the reaction," Staple said. "We may expand the theater campaign. I think we would consider expanding [within] the Landmark chain because we think that's a broad, independent audience. You generally have an older, more independent audience there, and I think they would be more receptive."

Staple said the ads will also be shown on Bloomberg TV through the end of June. He said the cost to air the commercials on the channel and in the theaters was running the nonprofit about $350,000. The videos are also available for viewing on YouTube and on ACSF's What if Challenge website.

"The main point of the ads is to remind Americans that natural gas provides the country with an unprecedented new opportunity to improve our energy security," Staple said. "So we wanted to compare President Obama's State of the Union commitment to natural gas to other historic calls to action by Democratic and Republican presidents alike."

ACSF produced a 30-minute film on the natural gas boom in late 2010. The film, Shale Gas and America's Future, was broadcast on television.

Chesapeake Energy Corp. is the nonprofit's main financial supporter.

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