Benevolent Petroleum “Making Nice” In Communities Around The Gulf

BP spent years, and lots of money, helping us believe the impossible–that the company is an environmental steward, when in fact the very opposite is true.

Now, with the Deepwater Horizon disaster as part of the company’s record, the brand guardians are back at work, saying essentially that with BP’s money and commitment to the recovery effort, it’s all good.

To ratchet up the believability of these YouTube-based appeals, BP enlists locals and tells their stories in an earnest, feel good documentary format. Here’s one of many “Gulf stories”:

You heard the chef, the fish looks and tastes as good as ever. Order the grouper!

But what about the sea turtles? Are they okay?

Taken together, BP, a.k.a. Benevolent Petroleum, has shown that is still deeply engaged in helping to revive the Gulf Coast communities it damaged with its carelessness, and even better, the locals are happy with the way things are shaping up. Heck, even the sea turtles are rockin’ on.

Then again, these are not documentaries. And this is not Frontline. This is content marketing with a PR objective.

As you might imagine, The Times-Picayune is reporting citizen viewpoints that contrast sharply with the case BP is making in the court of public opinion. The American Shrimp Processors Association is not happy. And Stuart Smith, an attorney with lots of clients who are landowners and people who got sick from the spill, said the settlements fall short on both property and medical grounds.

Previously on AdPulp: BP Spills Lots Of Money On Slick Gulf Tourism Spots



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.