Fast Company: From “Top Kill” to “Dead Man’s Switch: “What BP’s Oil Spill Lexicon Reveals About Its Brand”

Jamey Boiter on Fast Company’s site wrote about how B.P’s mismanagement of core oil fundamentals has ultimately, in my opinion, also sunken the B.Ps brand under a mile of water. If a company cannot fix a hole a mile under water then how can they justify drilling one in the first place.

The following paragraph made me laugh, and then it made me sick. The public continues to hear about the “solutions” but when you place their actual terms (and see B.P’s thought process)- I seriously question their ability to end this diaster. Any doubt that it will go down in history as the worst ocean oil disaster in history? In conclusion, if you own B.P stock, get out while you can! I would wait on the sidelines to see what eventually happens in the long term. B.P could fail just like all their laughable attempts at a solution. The well, MC252, has lead to a disaster that will forever stay in my memory. This travesty also serves as a first rate national crisis failure. I won’t get into politics in this post. However, Obama’s speech yesterday sums it up well, check it out below.

“Strategies to stop the leak are named “Top Kill,” “Top Hat,” “Hot Tap,” “Junk Shot.” They’re using something called “Corexit” as the oil dispersant. We have heard that the explosion was caused by “dead batteries in the dead man’s switch.” What is up with these heinous words being spewed about like oil leaking into the Gulf? Who came up with these names? I know what a “dead man’s switch” is, but given there have been 11 fatalities in this disaster, one would think BP would be more considerate about what they are saying. Or is “spilling” everything just part of their M.O.?

You could certainly argue that names don’t matter–that they can call their fixes Little Bo Peep as long as they do something that actually works. But it’s hard to fathom why BP isn’t branding the possible solutions to this crisis with more positive names that resonate a good outcome, even if it’s only their hope. Where is the crisis management group, and why aren’t they working with the same brand geniuses that brought us the Helios House and the beautiful iconography to at least make us feel a little better about this debacle?

I suspect there is group huddling as we speak, with marketers clicking their gooey, tar-ladened heels together and saying, “There’s no place like home.” Sorry, BP, you’ll be living with what may be the worst man-made environmental disaster in history for a long time.”

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May god forgive us for our sins against mother nature.

-Adam Faragalli