My 6/13/10 Missoulian column
I’m sure there are textbooks being written right now on British Petroleum’s stumbles with “reputation recovery.”
Reputation recovery? That’s what happens online after a corporate disaster: Circle the wagons, hire reputation recovery specialists and hope for the best.
BP must have a roomful of specialists on retainer, and while some of its recovery efforts are high tech, the efforts to analyze BP’s moves are also high tech.
Among the YouTube videos and its own corporate websites and sites just for its cleanup efforts, BP is buying up advertising keywords on Yahoo, Google and other search sites.
That’s the same thing that any business does for advertising: Set up an advertising account and buy keywords in order to appear in web search results.
Google “oil spill” and you will see the text ads from BP that appear for those keywords. Those ads lead to BP’s own public relations sites. (You’ll also see ads by NGOs and other groups countering BP).
But BP’s advertising campaign has been analyzed by Search Engine Watch with publicly available information from Google and others, and it has figured out that BP is spending more than $1.30 per click on those ads. That’s been extrapolated to cost BP more than a $1 million a month for those ad clicks.
And then there’s Twitter. Someone immediately recognized Twitter as an anti-reputation recovery vector and opened an account under the name BPGlobalPR. It parodies BP and clearly states that, “We are not at all associated with Beyond Petroleum, the oil company that has been destroying the Gulf of Mexico for 53 days.”
With more than 156,000 followers, BPGlobalPR is clearly in the sights of BP’s reputation recovery specialists, but there’s been no response. Some that BP should embrace the parody Tweets and start Tweeting in response, but obviously play it straight. It’s not the right time for online humor from BP.
And another parody that British Petroleum probably shouldn’t try and counter, and should do their best to ignore, is an article at the satirical website The Onion. It quotes verbatim those lines that BP would like everyone to forget, such as the CEO saying that the oil spill will be a drop in the bucket in the gulf and that he “wants his life back.”
This week in Mac Q & A: PDFs on OS X