During the Gulf oil disaster in 2010, BP used media (advertising and PR) disastrously--only hurting their reputation by overtly trying to sway public opinion of their role in the disaster, spinning yarns that few found believable.
They eventually slipped away from public view--proving that going quiet can prove more effective than going on defense.
Now, BP is launching a new television campaign in the UK--a country more tolerant of BP's role in the Gulf disaster than Americans. The campaign is in support of their sponsorship of the London 2012 Olympics and is a typical feel-good piece designed to make consumers warm to the company's positive values.
Under a tagline of "London 2012 fueling the future" BP highlights its efforts around carbon footprint offsets, and bio-fuels, while showing Chariots of Fire-like imagery of British Olympians and Paraolympians.
Granted, Ogilvy & Mather London had an Olympic-sized task to try to improve BP's image in 30-seconds, did they succeed by tugging at consumers emotions with disabled athletes, inspirational music and imagery and an environmentally friendly message? I might still be too jaded to believe their message is still anything but spin.
BP may think otherwise: "We thought now people were in the mood to listen to message about the Olympics. We had to be thoughtful about the project and the brand, and to get the voice right. I’m confident people will see BP in a positive way," according to Duncan Blake, director of brand at BP.