You don’t have to like BP or its Deepwater Horizon handling to be impressed with the way it’s using YouTube. Let me demonstrate. If you search YouTube for “BP parody” you see the following image.
Below the ads for BP’s YouTube channel and Old Spice (in yellow), the first user-generated video is a hysterical UCBComedy parody (coffee spill) that I still see played at conferences to show the impact of comedy on public relations. Parenthetically, you may remember I took improv classes at UCB Theatre in NYC, but dropped when my dad died… sadly UCB wouldn’t let me start again without paying full price :(. The second video (press conference ends awkwardly) is mine, where I play a nervous Brit briefing the press on Tony Hayward.
BP can’t do much about our satire videos, other than ensuring through paid media (ads) that its voice is heard. Well that’s not entirely true: with a good video SEO strategy it’s possible that it could produce content that rivals our videos. But it would be very difficult.
So the solution is to balance our satire with positive messages. Now the content of the channel and videos is where it gets very tricky. Clearly if someone’s looking for a spoof video, they won’t much care about BP’s voice. But as evidenced by the views on BP’s channel (8.8 million) its getting some curiosity visits. When I saw an ad for this video below (63K views) aside my own videos, I was curious and intrigued about what it contained:
That’s Rick Scali of Destin, Florida… he and his wife manage properties, and were compensated by BP for lost revenue. I find this video story fascinating for reasons beyond it appearing aside my own videos. You see Destin, Florida is my childhood beach. It was close enough to New Orleans and our property in Brewton, Alabama to be a frequent vacation destination. I don’t know of Scali or this particular resort, but shots of the clean beaches were comforting to me.
Sure the negative comments show that some people aren’t buying it. Example: @coldfood10 “This whole mess smells like another Corporate attempt to fix prices at the pump to gain more obscene profits to me.”
But what else can BP from a PR/advertising perspective? Assume you’re in charge of the marketing (a job you might resist, but suspend belief for a moment), and you weren’t in charge of the cleanup or improving BP’s safety practices. Could you do a better job than post these short, humanizing videos and promote them? Would you be brave enough to let the comments — negative and positive — appear around the videos? It’s certainly better than being quiet, and it takes a certain bit of courage.
That said, I can’t acknowledge the impressive handling of PR/marketing without taking a moment to satire the thumbnail of Scali cleaning his pool, right? Common I’m a marketer who’s a “comedian” on YouTube. What else can I do?