During Toyota's recall scandal several months ago, the company's social media machine turned its engines on full blast. The campaign--honest and transparent, was by many accounts, extremely successful.
Now, BP is seeking to counter the daily negative news reports about the Gulf of Mexico oil spill with a digital PR strategy that includes paid search ads to drive traffic to a microsite linked to Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Flickr.
The PR effort, which is being overseen by lead agency Ogilvy & Mather, is getting mixed reactions from analysts, who question whether BP will hurt its image further by investing in marketing when the oil leak still isn't capped.
"The advertising could be perceived as very wasteful. [But] it's not like you can reorient your marketing department to clean up beaches," said Sarah Hofstetter, svp, emerging media and brand strategy at 360i. "I think they're doing a good job. There's news that's not getting covered by the media that could be valuable to consumers if they knew it."