Other Than That, Mrs. Lincoln, How Was The Play?

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OK, so you’re British Petroleum and you’ve destroyed habitats in the Gulf of Mexico.  And in the process are killing birds, businesses and communities.  Yeah, you blew it on the whole safe drilling and reaction plan things.  But how are you handling the PR nightmare 100 times the magnitude of anything the John Wilkes Booth family ever dreamed of.

And stupid, insensitive comments like “I want my life back,” from embattled BP CEO Tony Hayward don’t score points with the Gulf locals, shareholders or the rest of the world.

Sure, it’s an uphill battle.  But I’ve seen some bright spots.  Certainly, setting up the $20 billion damage claims fund — shakedown or not — was a positive if unavoidable first step.  Then I saw this commercial last night that made me think BP really does care.  I guess that’s the objective.

I even read a letter to the editor in the Courier-Journal  this week encouraging people to buy gas from BP!  True.  The writer’s rationale was that if BP goes out of business, who’s going to pay for the clean up?  Made sense to me.

As of today, I’d give BP an F-minus for environmentalism and a C-plus in post-disaster marketing.  For the long term, I’m afraid the picture is bleak for both BP and the Gulf.  Though, I think BP has the better chance of coming out of this mess.  And, as a marketer, I must admire their efforts to keep a positive spin on things.  They have little choice.

What do YOU think?  We’d love to see comments from UnderCurrent readers on BPs handling of the Gulf Crisis.   There’s enough fodder here for a wide spectrum on opinions on the PR/marketing aspect of this.  Heck, even congress has taken up — believe it or not — polar positions on it (pick it up at 6:00 into the show).  So please, chime in yourself!


  • Rob
    July 13, 2010, 10:18 am  Reply

    In the first 60 days or so of the crisis, I think BP spent more time trying to contain the publicity rather than the oil. Whether or not that is true, the fact that they spent so much time and money on PR is in itself bad PR for the company. I’d bet that BP is out of business within the next 2 years and we are left holding the bag anyway.

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