So far, it may have more to do with luck than anything, but petroleum giant BP seems to be successfully evading more than just the question of responsibility for the worst offshore oil disaster in history.
Quick – what’s the worst oil tanker disaster in recent memory? What company was responsible? Exxon Mobil and Valdez are irrevocably linked, and the stain of that event will rightly stick to that company for as long as the oil fouls Alaska’s once-pristine coastline.
But because BP (perhaps wisely) did not attach their corporate name to the rig that exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, they simply aren’t as front and center in this calamity. A scan of recent articles reveals just how weakly this major catastrophe has been branded. It has been called Gulf of Mexico oil spill (Washington Post), Deep Water Horizon oil spill (Wikipedia), Massive gulf spill (MSNBC), Louisiana oil spill (Huffington Post) and… well, you get the idea. Nothing that even sticks in the public mind, let alone attaches itself to the corporations responsible. A decade from now, the culpable parties will have paid some penance and faded into obscurity, opening the door to more of the kind of lobbying that industry seemingly always undertakes to loosen regulations and increase profits.
If environmentalists, fishermen, heck, anyone living in the gulf region, wants this disaster to have any lasting positive effect, we had better give it a much more effective brand.
So, as your humble Green Briefs branding expert, may I suggest ‘BP Blowout’. This nicely frames the discussion both in terms of corporate ownership, as well as providing some nice visual cues for the explosive nature of the original event. All with, I would suggest, at least partially-accurate overtones of lax safety.
I think I’ll start a Facebook Group for this idea. If you agree, please join ‘ReBrand the oil spill – BP Blowout – Tell the World’. Lets’ get some media attention.
Because who or whatever was ultimately responsible, we need to make the memory of this spill’s origins as sticky as the oil fouling the coast.
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