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BP proves there’s no such thing as bad publicity

Annie Wakefield
Digital Marketing Manager
9 June 2010

It would appear that BP is taking the old adage ‘there’s no such thing as bad publicity’ very seriously. The company suffered a massive PR setback earlier this year after a leaking undersea well in the Gulf of Mexico caused what is being referred to as ‘one of America’s worst ecological disasters’.

A BP spokesman, Toby Odone, recently confirmed that the company has been purchasing search terms to point users to the company’s official website. “We have bought search terms on search engines like Google to make it easier for people to find out more about our efforts in the Gulf and make it easier for people to find key links to information on filing claims, reporting oil on the beach and signing up to volunteer,” Odone has explained.

oil spill

US President Barack Obama publicly scolded BP for spending over £34 million on a television advertising campaign in which the energy company apologised for the oil slick.  The ad also explained the oil giants role in the clean-up process. Obama’s reasoning is that BP should not be spending money on a PR offensive while allegedly short changing those hit by the spill.

The oil company has been getting flak from every side, and it seems BP is now attempting to save its image by pointing those who search for oil spill related news online to its own Gulf of Mexico response page. It is said that the company has spent as much as £7000 on links to date.

This tactic has however not been received well by the online community. Twitter in particular has come up with a wealth of witty comments in a backlash against the company’s latest move. ‘Proud to announce we’ve partnered with Google to turn the Information Superhighway into a Corporate Bus Route,’ reads one tweet on a fake BP account, BPGlobalPR. ‘We’re paying Google a lot of money to make sure you only have access to the best possible info on the oil spill: our info’ reads another.

BPGlobalPR has unsurprisingly come under fire from its subject, but again, Tweeters have a response. ‘BP wants Twitter to shut down a fake BP account that is mocking the oil company. In response, Twitter wants BP to shut down the oil leak that’s ruining the ocean’ explained one US comedian.

What is your opinion? Is BP taking publicity too far? Or making brilliant use of this opportunity?

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