Today it was announced that BP has agreed to set aside £13.5billion to compensate victims of the devastating Gulf of Mexico oil spill. So far BP has lost almost half of its market value already. Needless to say what a significant impact this has had on the overall brand image, where PR strategies come in place almost instanteneously.
So what exactly did the company do to improve its image or at least to maintain what's left of it?
It's interesting to note that BP did not seek their traditional advertising agency for advice, Ogilvy & Mather, but instead took on Purple Strategies, a political consultancy, run by Steve McMahon (Democrat) and Alex Castellanos (Republican) for an online marketing campaign.
- BP launched a dedicated section on their website called the Gulf of Mexico Response homepage (giving the a wide array of options: latest news, recent updates, recent videos and a "keep up to date" feature listing feeds to Twitter, FB, YT & Flickr)
- Also, the company created a YouTube channel, launched a Flickr poll and started live broadcasting on Twitter.
As for its major budget slice - it went t o PPC rather than press or social media:
It is estimated that they are spending up to $1M a month on an integrated search marketing campaign using Google AdWords and YouTube (Searchenginewatch.com):
$995K spent on Google AdWords ads in the U.S.
5M total search ad impressions
$1.33 average cost per click
Anyway, this is a small part of the total reputation management budget when compared to the $50Million BP estimated to have spent on TV ads.Thus, since end of May, BP has had top visibility (position 1-2) for over 1,000 search terms related to "oil spill" on the search engine and their videos are promoted to the top of search results for videos on YouTube:
What did the company gained by bidding on over 1000 crisis-related keywords? Firstly, the advantage to have the opportunity to state their view first, before giving the visitors the freedom to choose randomly, as we all know random may include both positive and negative views.
Although, there's an issue of overexposure and positional manipulation, still - the move stirred a huge wave among international media. My point - well-done anyway (even the negative PR can become positive, right?), although was it cost-effective or not, we don't know yet.
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