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bp-bird.pngEvery era has its iconic image. This one will always represent the BP oil nightmare, and no amount of PR spin, or advertising (by Purple Strategies) or Tweeting will clean BP’s image. This photo, thanks to Google and the Way Back Machine, will be available online forever.
It’s already becoming apparent that the disaster was avoidable; that there was no contingency plan; and that there have been absolutely no technological advances in containing such spills since the 1979 Ixtoc spill that went on for nine months in the Gulf of Mexico. Pemex, the company now known as Transocean , was responsible for Ixtoc.
Not only did BP not learn anything since Ixtoc about how to stop an oil apocolypse, they also haven’t learned how to use interactive media. BP’s disaster response tactics are straight out of the age of message control.
BP’s disaster response homepage is filled with press releases, videos, links, and photos, but there is no way to comment on any of the content. Nor is there a “share” button anywhere to be found. It’s clear they spent lot of money putting the page together. But the one-way tactics it employs are straight out of the era of the Ixtoc oil disaster.
To its credit, BP has not engaged in old school bullying of bloggers and Tweeters, and they allow comments on Facebook. They haven’t interfered with the satirical Twitter feeds about the disaster or asked bloggers to remove content about the disaster. They’ve just basically ignored everyone, while pretending to be involved.
BP: talk with us not at us
It’s time for BP to do more than broadcast press releases and canned messages. It’s time for BP to start responding. Yes, there will be angry comments. Yes there may be haters who clearly intend to damage the brand. They’ll have to respond to them too.
But let’s face it, nobody could damage BP’s brand more than they’ve already screwed it up themselves. And constructive ideas could come from comments. Failing to engage just makes the hole BP is in grow deeper.
Update: Follow all the disaster news from social and traditional media at Oilaholic.