Tomorrow British Petroleum is launching a new wave of advertising that focuses on their clean up and restoration efforts following their disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in the Spring of 2010.
The advertisements feature Iris Cross, a familiar face who became the company spokesperson in the commercials following the disaster. In these ads, Iris updates the country on what BP has done and will further do to clean up the mess that it created. The ad itself is nice. It says lots of nice things about BP while rolling images of a beautiful, vibrant and clean Gulf Coast.
However, how effective this advertising? Does advertising a brand that has been disgraced and has deservedly lost public trust really improve its perceptions through advertising this message? Are consumers just supposed to trust BP because they're cleaning up their mess? Other than saying it's working with the government, this ad doesn't really explain why it deserves the public trust back.
Eventually, they will earn it back. People have short memories so which works in BP's favor. They'll forget how the incident was preventable, the company was warned but neglected maintenance on the well's blowout preventer , they'll forget how it took months to solve the problem as 4.9 million barrels of oil leaked into the gulf and they'll forget how the company's leader Tony Hayward downplayed the "relatively tiny" problem while spending quality time floating along on his yacht.
If people don't feel like they can trust you, it's best not to remind them why they feel this way. I don't understand what BP has to gain from a national advertising campaign.
I believe the company should go about it's business quietly and clean up the awful mess it made as best as they can. Time will eventually heal the wounds but advertising won't accelerate the process when it also reminds people why your not to be trusted.
Although it goes against human nature, sometimes the best action is to do nothing.