As anyone who has any kind of contact with the modern world is well aware, these last 100 days have been a big headache for disgraced oil giant British Petroleum (BP). Their Deepwater Horizon incident has turned into a circus of accusations, fake firings, reinstallations, and failed attempts to quell the yet to be quantified destruction of the Gulf of Mexico. In truth we won’t know what the true effects of BP’s Deepwater Horizon spill for years and years. Scientists and those who monitor this type of thing though will be watching closely though.
Regardless, BP is a company with shareholders and the first job of a company is to make money. A few weeks ago there was real speculation that BP would be chopped up and sold off to other companies; their debts were far too great in magnitude to ever truly be overcome. But like a scrappy prize fighter, BP has come out of the corner swinging. The most recent tactic of BP is to try their “guilt offensive.” In trying to downplay the billions and billions of dollars a company like BP has at its’ upper echelons, BP is trying to appeal to the “member of the community” sensibilities of many of their customers.
BP Guilt Offensive: Television Commercial: I first heard it in a local TV commercial which I’m sure is running in markets all over the world. A local BP owner down here in the Low Country of South Carolina was on a local cable network saying how they were just a gas station owner and how much they appreciated everyone’s continued support, even through tough times for BP. It was a classic move which I’m sure tugged at the heartstrings of any who knew this particular gas station and this particular owner.
BP Guilt Offensive: BP Stations: I have made a point not to frequent BP stations in the last three months. While I don’t make a point of frequenting one gas station or another (BP, Shell, Mobil, Exxon, or Texaco all are fine by my cars gas acceptability standards) I have made the conscious choice not to go to a BP station. I’ve stayed largely true to this pledge and have decided this is my casting a vote of silent protest against the actions of the company. Still, this evening, the tank was on EMPTY and I was in an unfamiliar neighborhood which had only one open gas station at 10:30PM. Lo, it was a BP station.
BP Guilt Offensive: What It Is: The BP Guilt Offensive is on full tilt at this BP station as BP proclaims they are “Part of the Community.” From their advertising: “This BP station is owned and operated by people from the community. Your neighbors. Your friends. Your family. Thank you for your loyalty.” Wow! If I were an empathic person with a guilty conscience I may have actually been swayed by this advertisement. I mean, it’s not the BP owner’s fault that Deepwater Horizon has spilled so much oil into the Gulf of Mexico; putting fisherman, shrimpers, tourism boats, hotels, bed and breakfasts, restaurants, and other tourist attractions in New Orleans, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida and Texas on the ropes! It’s that big bad BP.
BP Guilt Offensive: Wrong: Sorry BP. I am a person who understands business. I understand corporations. I understand franchises. And I also understand that if BP takes a dive, that gas station won’t go away; it will simply re-brand itself by whoever buys out the BP name. So sorry BP; you can’t fool me. This BP guilt offensive is a last ditch effort by a flailing company and the end result will be what it will be. No. Sorry BP. My answer to your cries for forgiveness is still no.
What will come of BP? We shall see.