I’ve recently been blogging (with some help) about the Gulf oil spill at BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil rig. When I started the blog, I was struck by the fact that there were no pay-per-click lawyer ads when I used Google News to search for articles. But that changed in a hurry. Within a couple of days the lawyer ads began emerging in an ever escalating war to sign up claimants. When mass tort ad campaigns such as this start, I’m usually either involved in it professionally or I follow the campaigns because I find them interesting and, sometimes, educational. As of the time that I’m writing this post, there are seven law firm ads displayed on Google News when you run a “BP oil spill” or “Gulf oil spill” search. Seven law firms and one almost unnoticeable ad by BP.
Perhaps it’s the technology geek in me, or my interest in Internt marketing, but I enjoyed comparing the ads. The lawyer ads all utilized the top line of the ad well, with large blue letters proclaiming something such as “Gulf Oil Spill Lawsuit” or “BP Oil Spill Lawsuit.” BP’s ad, by comparison, simply said “Spill” on the top line. It’s as if they are ashamed to be associated with it, and don’t want to admit which particular “spill” it is they are talking about. But if BP is too embarrassed to shout out its message in a way that competes with the lawyer ads, why even buy an ad on Google? And if BP, a company which had profits of $6.1 billion in the first quarter of 2010, wants to run an ad on Google, why doesn’t it bid high enough to rank higher than sixth out of eight ads?
Somehow the fact that BP is inept in handling its PR makes me even less confident of its ability and intention to clean up the mess it’s making in the Gulf. I’ve written more at BPOilNews.com about BP’s poor PR, including its waffling and refusal to commit to pay for damages caused by the Gulf oil spill. You can also follow my posts about the Gulf oil spill at Facebook and on Twitter @bpoilnews.