CITGO Kicks Off Year With Marketer Round Tables

Meets to feature new street image, brand programs

HOUSTON -- CITGO Petroleum Corp. is kicking off its annual Marketer Round Table Meetings across all three CITGO regions, providing an opportunity for local marketers to meet with the CITGO team and learn what is on tap for 2011. Each initiative is designed to help local marketers and their retailers grow more successful businesses, with strong connections to their customers and community.

Building on the success of its centennial year in 2010, CITGO is well poised for the future, the company said, and it will discuss the opportunities and challenges that 2011 will bring.[image-nocss]

"We had a successful year in 2010. Not only did we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the CITGO/Cities Service brand, but we also increased our brand footprint by adding nearly 450 new CITGO locations and 15 new marketers," said Gustavo Velasquez, vice president of supply and marketing for CITGO.

He added, "The launch of our bold, new retail image provides a fresh opportunity to engage with consumers and revitalize local business opportunities. In addition to the high level of support we offer our local partners, the extensive portfolio of marketing programs--including financial incentives, point-of-sale technology and advertising and public relations support--really sets CITGO apart from other brands and demonstrates the commitment to our marketers and retailers who are on the frontlines every day. In fact, our marketers tell us our slate of programs is state-of-the-industry caliber."

Leading the way for the 2011 programs is the new street image, which was first launched at the CITGO Centennial Summit in August 2010. The new design takes the CITGO "trimark" out of the box for the first time in 45 years. A revamped grand opening promotion package and public relations support is available to promote upgraded facilities in local communities and help build buzz among consumers.

Also new in 2011 is a multi-platform advertising campaign focusing on the "good" aspects of CITGO. Starting with quality fuels, the "CITGO is Good Gas. Guaranteed." campaign has made its first appearance via point-of-purchase materials installed throughout the retail network. A supporting website, www.FuelingGood.com/Guarantee, enhances the story with commentary from car enthusiasts who are loyal CITGO customers. It also offers additional information about CITGO fuel.

"Individuals and businesses across the country have gone through difficult times in recent years, but thanks, in part, to our close relationship with local marketers and retailers the CITGO brand has been able to adapt and weather the hardships well," said Velasquez. "Input from our marketers, retailers and consumers has guided our programs for 2011 and helped us develop initiatives that will put the network of local marketers in prime position to grow their businesses and build on their past success."

Other new and enhanced programs for 2011 presented to Marketers at the Round Table meetings include: An installation allowance program to support the new centennial image. A new partnership with Sprint to provide broadband, Internet-based payment card processing and advanced technology, including wireless hot-spot connections. Support on revised PCI and IRS guidelines to ensure compliance and ongoing payment card processing access. Loyalty and proprietary payment card programs with access to extensive rewards, new card designs and strong support from the new loyalty partner, Centego. Ongoing grassroots public relations support spotlighting individual marketer, retailer and community initiatives. The evolution of Fueling Good, an online initiative that rewards the good works of individuals in communities across the CITGO footprint.

CITGO, based in Houston, is a refiner, transporter and marketer of transportation fuels, lubricants, petrochemicals and other industrial products. The company is owned by PDV America Inc., an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Petroleos de Venezuela SA, the national oil company of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.