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Monday, May 24, 2010

Satire A Dangerous Slope: BP Case Study

This post has less to do with the actual BP Brand and more to do with the individual who created the fake account BPGlobalPR on Twitter.

What has BP done right so far?

In the disaster that is the BP Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico that is a PR nightmare, BP has managed to do a few things correctly from a PR standpoint.
  • Have paid for a google sponsored link that comes out on top for searches of BP Oil Spill with what BP is doing to fix the problem
  • Going to their homepage auto redirects to a splash page where they show what BP is doing for a Gulf of Mexico response
  • Created a twitter account of BP_America to help people speak out on the oil spill.

BP not managing or monitoring its brand.

While it is great that BP has made its brand and tried to take control of it, because if you don't someone else will. And someone else has done so, a twitter account BPGlobalPR made by someone who was upset with how BP was handing the oil spill situation. I am not the first to notice this account or how "real" BP hasn't or if it has I have yet to see anything about it. Some other bloggers have touched on this subject including Samir Balwan, John Taylor, and Mark Smith, and The Brand Builder himself Olivier Blanchard. I recommend once finished reading this blog that you read their incites on the situation. As for me this blog post is more on the Spoof/Satire point of view and what that individual is doing in response to the oil crisis.

Edit: According to Ad Age BP is aware of this account and the outrage that this person has towards the whole situation is understandable. Also looks like the account will not be taken down but might have to change slightly to make itself more clear that it is not a BP account.

Using Satire...for the good?

The fake and in my opinion hilarious twitter account of BPGlobalPR shows what social media and twitter is capable of. The fake account has over twice as many followers as the real account and many people on twitter do not recognize that it is a satirical account which devalues and damages BP and its brand. But with the over 10,000 twitter followers the individual behind the account is able to use the account and the followers to not only vent and point out how bad BP screwed up the situation but also do some good. What good could come from impersonating an actual brand. selling t-shirts. The fake account links to a site where you can get a "free" BP Cares t-shirt with $25.00 shipping. The good is the owner claims "All proceeds from these satirical shirts will be given to charities involved in cleaning, preserving, and rescuing the gulf and its animals.
We are printing shirts as quickly as possible, please allow 4-6 weeks for shipping." Now it would be great if that is true but by coming off as a fake account/impostor/con man it is hard for some people me included to believe that all proceeds will go to charity. Now they very well may which would be awesome and that individual who used Twitter to address their frustration at BP is doing plenty of good.

Edit: It looks like the proceeds will go to a charity of Healthy Gulf.

How is this a dangerous slope?

Where is the line that should not be crossed? Impersonating a brand and using their trademark and image is illegal. I am waiting to see what BP will do to the individual who made the account, and if other people who are upset with the situation also will create a satire account at BP or another companies expense.

Were you familiar with the fake BP account? What should be done to this account? What should BP and other companies do to make sure that this doesn't happen again or to them?

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