BP's Adman Got Suckered by His Own Scripts

BP is the most successful oil company at greenwashing its own image. Unfortunately for BP, the recent news about its massive oil leak in Alaska and the shutting down of its corrosive pipelines have revealed the truth -- it really is all about oil profits. In the New York Times , a BP adman admits that even he was suckered. John Kenney writes, "Six years ago I helped create BP’s current advertising campaign, the man-in-the-street television commercials. I can’t take credit for changing the company’s name from 'British Petroleum' to 'beyond petroleum' (lower case is cooler); my boss at the time came up with it. ... I believed wholeheartedly in BP’s message, that we could go -- or at least work toward going -- beyond petroleum." Now Kenney sees it differently: "They didn’t go beyond petroleum. They are petroleum."


PR Week reports on BP's communications response ("[http://www.prweek.com/us/news/article/577597/BP-ramps-comms-AK-crisis-threatens-image/ BP ramps up comms after AK crisis threatens image]," (sub req'd), August 11, 2006):

BP has more than doubled the number of external communications people working in its Anchorage, AK, crisis-response unit in light of its announcement August 7 that it would cease more than half its production in Prudhoe Bay - the largest oil field in the US - because of severe pipe corrosion and a "small" oil spill. ...

BP America president Bob Malone and Steve Marshall, president of BP Exploration Alaska, have done interviews on a number of national networks, including CNN, NBC, and PBS.

BP also took a pool of about 25 television and print journalists to the scene of the spill and pipelines this week. [BP press officer Neil] Chapman said contacting employees via e-mail and an internal intranet site is also a part of the communications process. ...

[W]hile [[Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide|Ogilvy]] is assisting BP during this situation, the company has elected to do the majority of work on its own.