Denny’s Daily Zinger: BP Plays the Victim

Animals caught in BP's Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

BP placed full-page ads in major newspapers claiming it is now being forced to pay fraudulent claims.

Remember the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill nightmare?
Remember the oil-covered wildlife? The beaches destroyed? The fishing industry decimated?

[See illustration No. 1 in the media player at right.]

Remember how BP tried to minimize the damage while a 24/7 underwater camera focused on millions of gallons of crude spewing into the Gulf?

For British Petroleum (BP)—and oil producers the world over—this was a P.R. catastrophe.

Peggy and I stopped frequenting the BP gas station near our house. It was probably a stupid protest, we felt better. Eventually we started buying BP petrol for the car once again.

Now BP is running a massive campaign—full-page ads in The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal—claiming it is being forced to pay fraudulent claims.

[See illustration No. 2 in the media player at upper right.]

Suddenly all the ugly images from 2010 started unreeling in my mind. I am, frankly, pissed off at BP all over again. We now buy gas at Citgo, Shell and Gulf.

The Takeaway:
Let’s say you have committed a horrific act that has cost billions of dollars, destroyed the environment and put tens of thousands of people out of work. Do not—I repeat, DO NOT—be a damned fool and reopen the wound. Simply pay the piper, take your lumps and pray it fades from memory.

Denny Hatch is the author of six books on marketing and four novels, and is a direct marketing writer, designer and consultant. His next book will be “Write Everything Right!” Visit him at dennyhatch.com or contact him at dennyhatch@yahoo.com.

Denny Hatch is the author of six books on marketing and four novels, and is a direct marketing writer, designer and consultant. His latest book is “Write Everything Right!” Visit him at dennyhatch.com.

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Comments
  • Reginald Doherty

    Yo! This BP PR push is just a red herring. If they signed a well-thought-out agreement, then fraudulent-claim safeguards should be in place. Compensated disasters always have scum coming out of the woodwork. How about 9/11 for starters? Any way, what’s a few more million dollars, one way or the other? Moreover, what percentage of people read long, boring letters in the newspaper? I don’t. Besides, where’s the call for action in the letter? These full-pagers are great revenue for the newspapers.

    ~~~ Reg Doherty

  • Scott Huch

    The real villain of this story is BP’s graphic artist. With those unindented paragraphs and that sans serif type, no one is going to read the letter anyway. Maybe they could justify the right margin, too, while they’re at it. Wall o’ text. Why-oh-why do they keep letting web designers lay out letters for print?

  • John

    At some point it’s time to fight back. If you read the ads it’s quite clear that one claim after another is fraudulent.

    BP has got to -and is now working on – their long term reputation.