I hate BP. But I hate myself more.

In an early post on this blog, I expressed some qualified admiration for the nuanced way BP approached the energy/environment discussion when its corporate campaign launched around 4 years ago.

Reading that post now, with BP trying to suppress pictures of dead animals and denying the sub-surface plumes clearly visible from space, I want to throw up.

But it’s not about me and my gullibility, is it? Let’s shift the discussion and think about someone with much bigger problems than mine. Let’s think about the person who has to write the ads running now.

Let’s imagine that it’s a guy (for no good reason other than to pick a pronoun).

He’s in his mid-30s, a Group Creative Director somewhere (they wouldn’t give this to a junior creative). He lives in Park Slope. He and his wife belong to a food cooperative. The only car in his life is a hybrid and has a Zip logo on it.

He thinks BP is a bunch of lying, Earth-despoiling wankers. But he needs this job.

Painfully, letter by gut-wrenching letter, he types out the words

We will get it done. We will make this right.

He stares at what he’s written. He looks at his fingers, at the keyboard. He is a marionette. He is a cockroach. He is only following orders.

His art director pops his head in. “Make sure it fits on 2 lines” he says.

4 thoughts on “I hate BP. But I hate myself more.

  1. Alaina says:

    I saw one of their “our bad” spots tonight. What a waste of good ad dollars. I hope they paid rate card.

  2. Arthur says:


    I wonder how many writers hate and fear that which they're advertising? How can they compartmentalize? Or quell their feelings?

    Arthur K.

  3. Alaina, they should have a special rate card for “my bad” ads with a 20% premium.

  4. On the bright side, by running daily full-page, NYT mea culpa ads now and, presumably, for the next six months BP is single-handedly postponing the death of the newspaper.


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