Hey friends, try the search term "BP Sucks" and see what you find.
Those good folks at British Petroleum don't want us to miss out on the company's herculean efforts to clean up the Gulf of Mexico.
That's why you can find all the BP-sponsored advertising links when you type in more innocuous Google search terms like "oil spill" or "oil spill cleanup." You'll find friendly come-ons prominently displayed at the top of your search page with phrases like "Learn more about how BP is helping."
Seems the company finally got a clue, hmm, over seven weeks in, that this might just be a PR debacle of supersize proportions for BP.
I don't know what Google charges to buy frequency and recency placement in favorable advertising. I do know that it's a fundamental principle of strategic communication in targeted messaging. When you are hungry, McDonald's wants you thinking burgers and fries. And when you're thinking oil spill, BP wants you to click on its version of the story first and keep coming back for more news about how BP is helping.
McDonald's slogan: Billions and Billions Served
BP's new slogan: Billions and Billions Paid
"Learn more about how much BP owes us."
Another fundamental principle of strategic communication is to be credible and never waver from the truth, because if people don't believe you, it doesn't matter what you say about what you do.
We the people haven't been close to the facts of this Gulf oil debacle since the very beginning. The company, particularly CEO Tony Hayward, has downplayed the crisis from the start.
Should we take some comfort in knowing that we won't miss out on the BP side of the oil spill story? Just point and click and tell yourself, "I just can't handle the truth."
Follow Nancy Snow on Twitter: www.twitter.com/drpersuasion