BP Oil is in a crisis. Not only is their Deepwater Horizon the biggest oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry but their inept cleanup and PR efforts have drawn intense global criticism. But one of their fiercest critics isn’t an environmentalist or member of the government, it’s a Twitter user. Here’s how a fake BP Twitter account has helped make BP Oil one of the biggest jokes on the Internet.
The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill
On April 22, 2010, an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig sent thousands of gallons of oil flooding into the waters off the Coast of Mexico. It’s now been five weeks since the spill began and BP still hasn’t sealed the well. Not only is the well still leaking, but BP has been silent on how they plan to stop the oil. The company just announced the launch of their “top kill” emergency relief effort to clean up the oil spill.
What have the been waiting for? Did they seriously never consider that one of their rigs might have an accident and require the emergency sealing of an oil well?
Fake BP Twitter Account Fills BP’s Communication Void
Everyone has been waiting for BP to say something about the spill, anything. Then a Twitter account called @bpglobalpr posted its first Tweet: “We regretfully admit that something has happened off of the Gulf Coast. More to come.”
The strange, hilariously delayed reaction soon proved to be the work of a poser taking shots at the oil giant by parodizing its ignorance and indifference.
The hoax clearly resonates with readers: AdAge reported yesterday that it took a mere 50 tweets for the account to rack up 13,000 followers, nearly three times as many as the real @BP_America. It’s suspected that a comedian (or -ienne) over at Funny or Die is behind the wit since the first follower was a writer at the site.
Recent favorites worth retweeting include:
- “Really worried about the effect this disaster will have on bikini season. The sun is still shining ladies, get outt there!”
- “Catastrophe is a strong word, let’s all agree to call it a whoopsie daisy.”
- “Jesus walked on water and soon you can too! (Please pray for BP, we’re losing a lot of oil).”
- And my personal pick: “@wired, how do we know you’re the official twitter account?”
The article also says that BP doesn’t seem to care — or at least isn’t putting much time into fighting the campaign. @bpglobalpr did tweak the logo to not be an exact carbon copy of the authentic one, but no one is threatening legal action to keep the fake Tweets from coming.
Who knows. Maybe BP isn’t resisting the opportunity to have consumers associate their troubled company with a cracked smile rather than outright rage. Maybe they have bigger fish to fry (sorry) than a playful PR hoax.
This may not be a green light to start posing as your favorite public figure, spouting fake quotations, confessing fake sins and provoking a slander suit, but it does beg the question: Whose ignorant alter ego would you want to be?