Last week I wrote about the fake BP Twitter account, @BPGlobalPR which contains posts such as, “ANNOUNCEMENT: No one is allowed to look at our oil. All Gulf residents are required to close their eyes until this is over.” This week the man behind @BPGlobalPR stepped forward to identify himself through a blog post, although he uses the pseudonym, Leroy Stick. He says he started the Twitter account “because the oil spill had been going on for almost a month and all BP had to offer were bullshit PR statements.” Currently, the account has 119,331 followers, has created “BP cares” t-shirts, and donated $10,000 to the Gulf Restoration Network. Leroy said all the proceeds from the sale of the t-shirts will go to the Gulf Restoration Network.
Leroy offers advice PR advice for BP, including firing its “joke of a PR department, staring with all-star Anne Womack Kolto and focus on actually fixing the problems at hand.” Kolto, as Leroy pointed out, was former Vice President Dick Cheney’s former publicist. Leroy has more advice for BP: “FORGET YOUR BRAND.” He goes on to say:
You know the best way to get the public to respect your brand? Have a respectable brand. Offer a great, innovative product and make responsible, ethical business decisions. Lead the pack! Evolve!
BP’s strategy for dealing with the @BPGlobalPR account is far more pragmatic than its overall PR strategy. Toby Odone, BP spokesperson said about the Twitter account:
People are entitled to their views on what we’re doing and we have to live with those. We are doing the best we can to deal with the current situation and to try to stop the oil from flowing and to then clean it up.
A post at ecoconsultancy.com points out that BP has not tried to silence @BPGlobalPR Twitter feed with the caveat, “for what it’s worth.” The post says that “ignoring the feed and letting people express their frustration seems like the right thing to do.” It adds that the best PR strategy BP can employ is to “simply fix the problem they’ve created.”
BP is not going to emerge from the disaster in the Gulf with a good corporate reputation. Mark Corallo, Xe Services (formerly known as Blackwater) spokesperson, told Gawker.com, “There are times when you have to man up and take your lumps, and this seems to be one of those times.” He adds, “There have been several times when I’ve counseled clients to just flat-out take responsibility… you have to come out and say ‘this is our problem. This is something that we’re dealing with immediately and we’ll take steps to make sure this never happens again.’”