Brand Protection, Bryan Pendleton and British Petroleum
by Yussi Pick
Poor Bryan Pendleton. He gets a lot of angry Twitter mentions these days. The curse of an early adopter combined with an unfortunate similarity of initials with a big oil company that currently tries to make the Gulf of Mexico into the world’s biggest deep fryer (churros anyone?). Bryan opened his Twitter account in 2006 and chose @BP as his handle. Four years later, Leroy Sick opens an account. He calls it BPGlobalPR and sends out statements like these:
So YOU want to see pictures of dead animals covered in oil and WE are the bad guys!? Sick bastards. #bpcares
Safety is our primary concern. Well, profits, then safety. Oh, no- profits, image, then safety, but still- it’s right up there
People say our stock has plummeted because of the spill. False. It’s because that commie Obama hates the middle class. ^Tony
In a recent comment for Gizmodo he wrote:
“I started @BPGlobalPR, because the oil spill had been going on for almost a month and all BP had to offer were bullshit PR statements. No solutions, no urgency, no sincerity, no nothing. That’s why I decided to relate to the public for them. I started off just making jokes at their expense with a few friends, but now it has turned into something of a movement.”
Indeed, within days he has over 100.000 followers. And counting. As a reference: BP_America, the official BP Twitter account has 13.000.
What does Bryan have to do with all this? He is more proof for the most important statement in Leroy’s article:
The point is, FORGET YOUR BRAND. You don’t own it because it is literally nothing.
On the Internet everyone can brantend (think brand – pretend, clever, hun?). You can try to protect your brand, buy all domains, register all Twitter feeds and create all the Facebook fanpages in the world, but really…you cannot. Even if you do, you can’t protect it from the bad reputation you earned yourself. BP’s Facebook community page has about 1.000 fans. But – as discussed – those pages aggregate public content and content your friend’s posted into the page.
What does that mean?
It means that this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2AAa0gd7ClM and this image:
Not even Leroy can protect his brand, although he tries really really hard, as the video shows: